Guest post by Laura Mariotti from University College London, blogs about her experiences so far whilst working on her project “Structural studies of a Cdc37‐PP5 complex; regulation of Cdc37 by dephosphorylation” with Dr Cara Vaughan at Birkbeck College.
I can hardly believe I have spent 4 weeks in the lab already – time has flown! After only two weeks of working in the lab, I already felt more confident about the techniques I was using. While lab sessions at university are immensely helpful, I have learned so much more in two weeks of “intensive” lab work than in two years of university lab sessions.
I am really pleased with how the project is progressing. So far, we have been able to purify our protein (although with a low yield). Currently, I am trying to achieve a better yield using a different affinity tag. Hopefully, with the new construct, crystallisation will ensue! Even though research can be frustrating when experiments don’t turn out as expected (we got a mutation in one of our constructs which was quite unfortunate!), it is ultimately rewarding and satisfying when ideal results do occur. In my opinion, the positive rewards of high-quality research definitely outweigh the setbacks.
My understanding of the project and its complexities is deepening every day. I am extremely grateful to my supervisors, Dr. Vaughan and Jasmeen Oberoi, as well as the Biochemical Society for making this amazing learning opportunity possible for me. It is the best experience I could wish for as an undergraduate student in more ways than one. Not only do I benefit from the hands-on lab work, but I am meeting students at all stages of their PhDs as well as post doc students who are all very helpful and provide me with insight into what a PhD involves and the application process. I am looking forward to continuing my internship and learning all I can every step of the way!