Student Spotlight

Lab Experience at the Leukocyte Biology Lab – Biometra UNIMI and Humanitas Research – Alberto Spolaore

Lab Experience Personal reflection

Alberto Spolaore, Virgilio 6° Cohort Student, UNIMI

I got the opportunity to do my 1st lab rotation at the Leukocyte Biology Lab – Biometra UNIMI and Humanitas Research.

PI of the laboratory:  Prof. Massimo Locati, Tutor: Dr. Alessia Troilo

The lab focuses on innate immunity, investigating macrophage recruitment and their role in inflammatory conditions such as infections and tumors. Specifically, one of the main quests of research is the function of MS4A4A protein both in physiologic and pathological settings.

My experience & learnings:

During the past weeks of lab rotation, I’ve learnt so much that it is impossible to summarize everything in few lines, however, I herein try to offer you a glimpse on what this experience left me with.

The lab rotation was a formidable engine that enormously boosted my skills, from the simple management of cell lines maintenance to the more complex mathematical reasoning behind the experiment design and data management.

What struck me the most has been the importance of precision especially on calculations, labelling, but also the movements under the lab cabinet and planning. In addition, another aspect which I had largely underestimated before is the importance of correctly designing the experiment, particularly regarding the negative controls. I wasn’t excepting such a deep study on how negative controls should be carried out. In fact, I discovered that controls are not purely blank tests, but that the design of an experiment should be such that every controllable variable is analyzed in its effects on the outcome and so multiple negative controls are necessary also in the same experiment.

Lastly, I want to thank dr. Alessia Troilo for the empathy and support in teaching me how to manage cells and reagents in the correct way, even though I had little dexterity at first. Thanks to her, I understood that research is truly complex and tough, but at the end of the day it is extraordinarily exciting and satisfying.