Thursday, May 16, 2013
I want to tell the story of how I initiated my journey as a virology researcher. I started taking classes at EPCC, where I also had a job at a science laboratory. My duties were to help instructors in everything they needed as well as preparing solutions, cleaning glassware, and basically preparing all the equipment for ALL the science labs (that meant geology, microbiology, A&P, biology, chemistry, and even physics). I really enjoyed the environment and the independence of my job. A year later, I finish all my basic courses and transferred to UTEP. My immediate goal was to get another job at school, so I started looking right away. A semester after my transfer, I checked my email and read “get paid to do research”, so I applied. I didn’t know what to expect or what research was all about. Weeks later, I received an email saying that I was accepted to a summer research internship with the LSAMP program. Based on my personal statement and my interests, the program assigned me to a laboratory; the SUMO-Influenza lab. The first time I met Dr. Rosas-Acosta I was very nervous and I remember having to fill in a form with my information and my mentor’s name ( later I realize I wrote Dr. Flores instead of Dr. Rosas :s). I started working in the lab as an independent undergraduate student for the summer, later I had the opportunity to stay with the LSAMP program for the entire school year. The next year, I applied again, but this time I was working with Sangita (the Master’s student at the time) developing the artificial SUMO ligases. After my graduation, I was offer to stay as the lab technician for 6 months, before I started my Master ‘s. I can say that I have been extremely fortunate to be here with all the opportunities that have been given to me. Even though, I am not the best student, I still remember the way I felt when I first started working here; I felt excitement, curiosity, but mostly confusion because I was completely lost the majority of the time. Now, I can feel the progress I made throughout the years, the knowledge on techniques and terms has been growing, but I still feel the curiosity and confusion in many of the experiments I perform. My main driving force is the fact that I know I will always have things to learn and techniques to master.
Just think about this:
You are looking for answers on how an incredible microorganism such as the influenza virus has been able to cause the second deadliest disease in history. Exciting right?! :)