My Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) Experience


There is a lot of pressure to figure out what is next after undergrad, except no one is going to tell you what to do. You must decide your own future. I knew I wanted to do research but had no clue where or on what. To figure it out, I applied to The University of Chicago Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP).  I started working in a lab that studied the dengue virus (DENV), the causative agent of the dengue fever. My project was focused on identifying potential sites of the DENV genomic packaging signal. The lab previously performed a transposon insertion mutagenesis screen of DENV genome. This served as an extremely powerful approach to creating many mutant DENV genome with random insertions for the study of the genomic packaging signal. Mutants genes were then electroporated into target bacterial cells.  To test for packaging, I cultured bacterial stocks of each mutant and isolated the viral DNA using standard DNA purification kit. The purified DNA is then used to make RNA which is electroporated into Huh7.5 cells. I measure potential variances in packaging among the mutants using plaque assay and qPCR. A lot of fancy words and technical terms up there but, they are not important. The point is, I went into the PREP program knowing nothing, and came out knowing something which has helped me get to where I am. now.  When you do not know, find someone who does know and ask questions. If you cannot decide what you want to go to school for, or what kind job that you want. There are people and there are programs out there that can help you figure it out, and for me, the PREP program was the right fit and match to help align my thoughts and set my ambitions into motion. If you are a recent graduate interested in the field of Biomedical Science but not sure where to start, #getyuhlife and dont hesitate to shoot me an email. 




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