Finding a career path in
biomedical research can be challenging for many young people, especially when
they have no footsteps to follow. We asked three recent college graduates who
are pursuing advanced degrees in biomedical sciences to give us their best
advice for undergrads.
Tip 1: Talk with mentors and peers, and explore opportunities.
One of the most challenging things for incoming undergraduates is simply to find out about biomedical research opportunities. By talking to professors and peers, students can find ways to explore and develop their interests in biomedical research.
Credit: Mariajose Franco.
Mariajose Franco, a first-generation college student, recently graduated with honors and dual degrees in molecular and cellular biology and physiology from the University of Arizona in Tucson. She’s now in a postbaccalaureate program at the National Cancer Institute and has her eye on combined M.D.-Ph.D. programs.
As an undergraduate, a course in cancer biology piqued her interest, and she reached out to her professor, Justina McEvoy, to see if she could join her lab. As a sophomore, Franco began working on rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer that arises from cells that normally develop into skeletal muscle. Through the NIGMS Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) program, she received support to conduct two research projects during her junior and senior years. In addition to offering research opportunities, the MARC program was instrumental in providing training in scientific writing and conference poster presentations, and navigating applications, Franco says.
Continue reading “Back to School: Top Tips for Undergraduates Eyeing Careers in Biomedical Sciences”
A bioprint of the small air sac in the lungs with red blood cells moving through a vessel network supplying oxygen to living cells. Credit: Rice University.
A team of bioengineers, funded in part by NIGMS, has devised a way to use 3D bioprinting technology to construct the small air sacs in the lungs and intricate blood vessels. Continue reading “Advances in 3D Printing of Replacement Tissue”
Credit: Zvonimir Dogic, Brandeis University.
Imagine an army of tiny soldiers stationed throughout your body, lining cells from your brain to every major organ system. Rather than standing at attention, this tiny force sweeps back and forth thousands of times a minute. Their synchronized action helps move debris along the ranks to the nearest opening. Other soldiers stand as sentries, detecting changes in your environment, relaying that information to your brain, and boosting your senses of taste, smell, sight, and hearing.
Your brain may be the commander in chief, but these rank-and-file soldiers are made up of microscopic cell structures called cilia (cilium in singular).
Here we describe these tiny but mighty cell structures in action.
Continue reading “Cilia: Tiny Cell Structures With Mighty Functions”
Dr. Melissa Wilson.
Credit: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang.
The X and Y chromosomes, also known as sex chromosomes, differ greatly from each other. But in two regions, they are practically identical, said Melissa Wilson , assistant professor of genomics, evolution, and bioinformatics at Arizona State University.
“We’re interested in studying how the process of evolution shaped the X and the Y chromosome in gene content and expression and how that subsequently affects literally everything else that comes with being a human,” she said at the April 10 NIGMS Director’s Early-Career Investigator (ECI) Lecture at NIH.
Continue reading “Computational Biologist Melissa Wilson on Sex Chromosomes, Gila Monsters, and Career Advice”
Charmaine N. Nganje, PREP scholar at Tufts University in Boston.
Credit: Katherine Suarez.
Charmaine N. Nganje
Hometown: Montgomery Village, Maryland
Influential book : The Harry Potter series (not exactly influential, but they’re my favorite)
Favorite movie/TV show: The Pursuit of Happyness/The Flash
Languages: English (and a bit of Patois)
Unusual fact: I’m the biggest Philadelphia Eagles fan from Maryland that you’ll ever meet
Hobbies: Off-peak traveling
Q. Which NIGMS program are you involved with?
A. The Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University in Boston.
Continue reading “PREP Scholar’s Passion for Understanding Body’s Defenses”
Women have two X chromosomes (XX) and men have one X and one Y (XY), right? Not always, as you’ll learn from the quiz below. Men can be XX and women can be XY. And many other combinations of X and Y are possible.
Continue reading “Chromosomally speaking, what do you know about sex? Take a quiz to find out.”