When I reluctantly submitted my internship application during spring, I had the slightest idea of the opportunities that awaited me. Fast forward five months, where I can now fully state that I am a true believer of the saying, “you never know unless you try”!
As a research intern at the University of Winnipeg, I was introduced to the basics of a program that tracts the fibres in mouse brain samples, which are attained via magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). I was left with a simple set of instructions, and was challenged to discover other functions of the program that have not yet been explored by anyone else in the lab. After some time, I was able to develop the program in a way that enables me to test it on three different models: Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and cancer. I also learned how to use the data acquired from the program to run statistical tests on Excel. Unfortunately, just like at SHAD, four weeks does not feel like enough time to fulfill all that you desire, especially when you are fully engaged in the experience. I have, however, been fortunate enough to be invited back to the lab in the following months to conduct more research. Looking forward, I hope that it will be useful as a tool for researchers in Manitoba who have desired this type of biotechnology for quite some time.
Many of my days are filled with complete silence, the only sound being the air conditioner running nearby, as others are immersed in their research. I have learned to value the gift of silence, as it has an amazing way of stimulating our brains. Outside of computer work, I had the chance to attend a Medical Physics Symposium, where I witnessed undergraduate students present their research to a panel of judges. It was incredible to see how well they carried themselves while showing passion towards their research, reinforcing my desire to pursue a path in the health sciences. I am thankful to have met other undergraduate and graduate students working in the lab who are extremely down to earth and always open to providing me with valuable advice regarding post-secondary studies. I was also introduced to the wonderful world of geocaching- a fun alternative to having a group meeting, according to my mentor!
My time interning at the University of Winnipeg has truly put the cherry on top of an amazing summer. I am looking forward to the possibility of returning next summer, and to see where my current research will take me! I would like to thank SHAD and the University of Winnipeg once again for providing me with an incredible experience that I will cherish for years to come. As I complete the last few days of my internship, I am left with a bittersweet feeling. Nevertheless, I understand that this is certainly not the end, but the beginning of an extraordinary scientific journey!