Hey! By clicking on this, I’m willing to bet that you’re at least slightly interested in participating in research during your time at college. Well, I have great news for you - whether you have no experience or you’ve been a member of a lab since your freshman year of high school, Tufts will give you the opportunities and resources you need to participate in deeply engaging, cutting-edge, profound scientific work. From topics ranging from foreign policy to neuroscience, the intellectual community at Tufts is thriving. Best of all, everyone wants to help you get to where you want to be!
I’m a Biopsychology (our version of “neuroscience”) major, so I’m best equipped to speak about my STEM journey. However, at the end I’ll summarize some of the things I’ve learned about getting involved in collegiate research which you may find beneficial, no matter your interest.
What does my journey so far look like? In high school, I knew I wanted to work in a lab. In fact, one of the main reasons I decided to apply Early Decision to Tufts was the reality that here, you get the best of both worlds - a small, tight-knit community (where you can reach your professors, for example!), but a vibrant research program with opportunities abound. I’m happy to report that I am not disappointed.
Attending an introductory lecture about sleep taught by Professor Lisa Shin, I saw a colorful slide plastered with EEG waveforms. Then, I knew I wanted to get involved. When I visited her office hours, she encouraged me to apply to her peer’s lab at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, so of course I did... and now EEGs aren’t something I’ve just seen on a slide! I’ve set them up and administered them firsthand. You can see one of the presentations I created here.
This year I’ll be working in Professor Mirkin’s lab, a renowned geneticist in Tufts’ biology department. We’ll be investigating the uncoupling of the replicative DNA helicase and the leading strand DNA polymerase at long DNA repeats. Through this, I’ll have the opportunity to engage with cutting edge techniques, like nanopore sequencing.
That’s not it, though. I still am seeking to gain experience in what I hope to earn a MD/PhD for neurosurgery, glioblastoma, and the genetics of neuro-oncology. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a professor at Tufts connected me with one of her research friends who runs a lab at Harvard studying just that!
What have I learned in my first year of research at Tufts? What advice would I give to past me? Well, here it is: