Life Under the Microscope: My Summer as a Research Intern

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… this dream cannot become a reality without delegates like us.

 

 

Cindy ChenBy Cindy Chen
(17 years old, California)

Imagine a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D). A world in which there would be no more need for test strips, lancets, reservoirs, infusion sets, shots, and that darn insulin pump. A world in which there would be no more kids crying as their parents try to coax them into poking their fingers. No more little kids in hospital beds receiving the scary news. I want to play a part in this amazing future. That is why I want to pursue a career in endocrinology.

Last summer, I had the opportunity of a lifetime when I interned at the Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I worked in the Developmental Biology Department with Tai-Lan Tuan, Ph.D., a brilliant researcher, and her associates Dr. Huang and Dr. Lee. Among many other things, Dr. Tuan studies skin-wound healing in diabetic mice.

Cindy Chen, future endocrinologist, getting a head start on her dream.

Cindy Chen, future endocrinologist, getting a head start on her dream.

I spent six weeks at Saban, learning about different lab techniques, such as sterilization, water bathing, and centrifugation. In the last week, I was able to conduct my own experiment, in which I tested different mediums on different cell densities and observed how well the cells stuck to the plates and how quickly they multiplied. Conducting my own experiment taught me all the basics: how to design an experiment, execute experimental procedures, record and analyze test data, and maintain a sanitary lab environment.

This internship gave me firsthand experience in the world of biomedical research. I was blessed with an amazing opportunity to work with talented researchers who were kind enough to share their knowledge of science with me. This summer—literally the day after Children’s Congress ends, in fact—I will return to Saban, this time to work in the Developmental Neuroscience Department. A major aspect of the department’s research goals is targeting diabetes and what triggers it, and I will be working with one of the leading researchers on this topic. This fantastic experience has only fueled my desire to seek a career in endocrinology.

I have a dream of becoming an endocrinologist. I have an even bigger dream of a world without T1D. But this dream cannot become a reality without delegates like us, dedicated organizations like JDRF, researchers like the Saban Research Institute, and our Members of Congress. Together we can achieve a better future without T1D.

To learn more about Cindy, visit her Children’s Congress delegate page.