How the Four Months Influence My First Step to the 10 Year Future Plan to Be a Genetics Research Scientist



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Last summer, I interned as a research assistant at the Chromatin Biology Lab (CBL) in the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). It was my first opportunity to work in a graduate school lab environment with PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows. I was mentored by a PhD student who studies how the interaction between the protein complex Spt-Ada-Gcn5 acetyltransferase (SAGA) and the proteasome influences the transcriptional regulation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in vivo. For the first few weeks, I worked along with my mentor, following the exact procedure she conducted and taking notes of the process. I also studied sections of Biochemistry and Epigenetics textbooks along with several papers related to SAGA, the proteasome and overall transcriptional regulation in S. cerevisiae, to familiarize myself with the topic and the purpose of our experiment. After I became familiar with the main procedures and the lab techniques, my mentor assigned me to duplicate her result in gene expression level comparison using wild type, rpt2-1 mutated, and sgf73 deleted samples of S.cerevisiae. I used qPCR to verify the quality of chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) process, which consisted of harvesting cells and isolating the DNA-protein complexes by sonication and DNA purification. The purified DNA samples were sequenced and analyzed using softwares such as Homer and deepTools. My research was successful as the final analysis supported that the mutation of SAGA and the proteasome interaction affects the rate of gene expression of S.cerevisiae cell in vivo. The four month experience at CBL gave me an insight in qualities required to be a successful research scientist, and also in what future academic and career paths I am expected to follow.