The Junior Research Project is offered as an elective in the second semester of the master’s program in biomedicine. We are allowed to work in the lab of our choice for six weeks and here’s what I did during the project.
Experienced the work culture in academic labs
Having worked in the industry earlier, I wanted to get a sense of the work culture in academic labs at KI. The timings were flexible. There were days when we had to stay a bit longer to finish up experiments and then there were also days when we could spend most of our time reading scientific journals. There was independence to plan our experiments.
Got insights into a new subject
I felt there were two ways of making use of the time given- either learn a new technique or skim the surface of a new field of study. The lab I worked in specialized in B cell Biology. I was familiar with the techniques involved but had never gotten exposure to study of B cells. I did learn new concepts but I felt the time was too short to gain sufficient knowledge. If I were given the chance to do something differently, my focus for this project would be to learn a new technique.
Was a part of all the lab activities
During my stint in the lab, I got to witness PhD half-time seminar and also a PhD thesis defense. It is done differently in every country and this was something completely new and exciting to me. The format of journal club was also quite different. Instead of one person presenting a scientific article, all of the lab members were expected to read the article and each of us discussed one figure. I felt this way we would give more attention to detail and get to know other’s perspectives. My lab members were really nice and I had a great time during the six weeks.
If you are really sure you want to work in a lab later on, this elective is a good way to start getting involved in projects. If you are unsure or want to try something new, you could also opt for the Science to business course. The course is designed to provide an understanding of various aspects of starting a biomedical company. The grading is based on an assignment done in a multi-disciplinary team.
This elective also marks the end of first year of the program. The first year did go by quickly and I cannot wait to see what the following semesters have in store for us. In the meanwhile, if you have any questions, feel free to drop an e-mail.