My interest in biology emerged from a life-threatening experience four years ago. During the summer break prior to my college application, I took a trip to Tibett. Acompanied by a local monk, we traveled among the undeveloped villages scattered over the Tibetan Plateau. Towards the end of the trip, I caught a fever in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, the car that I was travelling on to the hospital broke down while we were on our way there. In the midst of that situation we required that someone go to the nearest village for help or both the driver and me would be stuck there in the mountains. Since the vehicle was a tempting target for local outlaws, it would be more dangerous for a sick person like myself to stay in the vehicle alone. Thats how, at an altitude of 4,000 meters and with a 39-degree Celsius body temperature, I took on the burden of walking back the way wed come to find the closest settlement. I am not able to share more detailed descriptions of how I felt by then, as my consciousness was totally blurred by a terrible headache. All I can remember is the thought that I had to keep walking back until I reached another human settlement, or I would faint in this desolate place and possibly die. I couldnt recall how I persisted, but I did.
After this event, I was fascinated by my own body in general. I started to wonder about the mechanisms behind all the abilities that I took for granted. I started to grow curious about what made a person move, where energy came from, and eventually, what actually determines and controls our activities. That is why I changed my major from chemistry to biochemistry.
During the summer break of my freshman year, I went to an internship at Biocytogen, a company that constructs customized gene-targeted animal models for clients. By transfection, we edited the mices chromosomes and forced them to express certain phenotypes so that our client would make use of them. Even though my duty was but routinely following the standard operation protocol, I am still quite impressed by the power we process for gene manipulation.
I came to know about Watson School of Biological Sciences through my professor who is a scientist researcher at Watson School of Biological Sciences. He has taught there for a very short period but he told me that the experience was awesome. He further assured me that Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is amongst the best and influential institutes for brain research in the world. With the knowledge that the CSHL is renowned for its excellent faculty and fundamental discoveries in molecular biology and has had several discoveries ranging from the development of new genomic technologies to several inventions of therapeutic strategies for a number of brain tumors.
I am continuing on the path of learning the power of genetics over life now, after getting into undergraduate research in Professor Lisa Stubbs lab, under the theme of molecular roots of the social brain. In our theme, we examined the change in gene expression profile in the brains of mouse after a social stimuli. My major responsibility is to visualize the localization of various transcription factor in mouse brains using thick section CLARITY IHC method, whose protocol I helped optimized. Besides, I use qRTPCR and ClARITY ISH to study the alternative splicing of transcription factor TCF7L2 in mouse brain whose resident is intruded using primer that designed by my own. Last but not least, I have also used Chip-Seq to analysis the differential expression pattern of the socially challenged mouse brain. Among everything I did in the lab, this method is what I am most fond of as it provides us a board overview of the differential regulations in the brain of the test subject and hence helps us to understand the gene regulation network in a macro prospective.
Further to fulfil my sense of accomplishment I would wish to study on superfluous chromosome that is inherited in Down syndrome famously known as chromosome 21 which is responsible in altering brain and body growth. Am on the urge of knowing whether protein is the cause expecially the SNX27 protein, that is repressed by an encoded molecule on chromosome 21. According to the scholars protein SNX27 is complexly reduced in HDS brains (Human down syndrome), thus I will wish to work on how to restore it and see if it improves cognitive behaviour and functions.
I am convinced that their Ph.D. program will help me gain more knowledge and hands-on work experience in the field of molecular biology on the genetics of life.
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