Lab Experience Personal reflection
Lorenzo Profeta, Virgilio 5° Cohort Student, HUMANITAS
I got the opportunity to do my 1st lab rotation at the Laboratory of David Bermudes, California State University (Northridge)
PI of the laboratory: David Bermudes
Tutor: David Bermudes
The lab focuses on: Microbiology
My experience & learnings:
This lab experience was extremely useful for my personal and professional growth. It gave me an opportunity to learn and practice experimental lab techniques and the scientific enquiry process. More importantly, I learnt how to work inside a lab, how to interact with colleagues and superiors and how to approach experiments. In this regard, I understood that nothing should be taken for granted inside a laboratory (as in life) and the most important skill for a researcher is resilience, since it allows scientists to not give up when faced with difficulties and failures. Sharing a personal example, the first PCR I performed, it was a complete failure. With repeated efforts and better focus, I was successful.
Being my first lab experience, I found it difficult and challenging, but the professor was always available and patient, he spent a lot of time teaching me the varied lab techniques. He was a true guide who put in complete trust in me and allowed me to learn-by-doing hands-on, many different lab techniques. This experience of trying, failing, trying again made me learn and grow so much.
Working in the lab really helped me develop a scientific reasoning mindset. Every technical aspect that I carried out in the lab was firstly reasoned on. Every problem that we faced had to be first reasoned and we had to rewind the tape of what we did until that point. Two critical points that brought us to deep reasoning and fact checking were: the time when we had to design the primers for the PCR, and the time when we encountered a contamination in a plate, where we had to think not only how it got contaminated, but also how to recover the colonies.
I learnt all the BSL2 procedures and applied them. In general, I also learnt the safety precautions in a laboratory are important not only for human safety, as it was obvious to me, but something that I didn’t think about was that any contamination in a microbiology lab is a danger for all the microorganisms grown in the lab, and thus a danger for all the experiments.
I hope and I am sure I will apply the concepts learnt for the rest of my life, both in a laboratory and in the hospital.