July 15th 2016,
Today marks exactly one month since the day I started my research position. I would like to start out by addressing what my position entails.
The position I accepted is located in the cancer research center of the University of Michigan hospital. The team I now work for works with head and neck related cancers. These types of cancers can either be caused by genetic reasons, or cancers resulted from smoking. We receive cells directly from the hospital floors below us. I have been lucky enough to see these tumors myself. The tumors that hold the cancer cells can vary from the size of a pea to a quarter. Those sizes might now seem that big, but when you imagine that being attached to say a saliva gland, or the back of your check, or even the back of your throat, that could result in some very uncomfortable times.
Once we receive these tumors, we chop them up, put them in organized tubes, and place them in a -80 degree Celsius freezer that can preserve those cells for a lifetime. These cells are very sensitive to their surroundings so our team has to be really careful when dealing with them. When I say this, I mean that any little exposure can make these cells grow differently which would essentially ruin the cell line. Our team has to be really careful when transporting these from room to room, and make sure that no bacteria is in contact with the cells at all times.
This is the background of what my summer internship is going to be about. Next time, I will go more in-depth with exact experiments and what I am trying to find within them.