I took my first final today: 8.022, Electricity & Magnetism with Theory. It wasn’t a bad class, all told. Circuits are pretty cool, and I liked the bits about relativity (too bad it wasn’t really on the final) – but there is a big difference between knowing something in theory and knowing how to apply it to an exam question. (Prefrosh, take note of this.) We’ll see how it all goes, but all in all I am very happy to be done with my physics requirements. =)
Enough about finals, though! As I said in the tagline, the fight’s begun but not yet won, and I’d rather blog about something a little happier than MIT final exams. And the happiest thing I can think of right now is what comes immediately after final exams…the summer!
Why am I so happy about the summer? Apart from the fact that I get to head back home for a week ago and see my family (Boston is amazing but a break is nice sometimes, and besides my mommy misses me), the summer means I get to do research! About a week ago, I officially confirmed what lab I’ll be in: I’ll be working in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research! Oncology has been a major research interest of mine since I was in high school, so I was incredibly excited when MIT announced that they would be erecting a new building dedicated solely to cancer research. Possibly even more exciting than the building itself, though (not to mention the $100 million gift that made it possible!), is that the Koch Institute’s express mission is to bring together scientists and engineers, so that they can mutually benefit from each other’s ideas, insights, and skills.
As a bioengineer-in-training, nothing could thrill me more – and I’m incredibly excited to be a part (however small) of the new Institute.
To get into the specifics, I’ll be working with Professor of Biology Angelika Amon to investigate the effects of aneuploidy on tumorigenesis in yeast cells. To translate from Biology-ese, I’ll be researching how having an abnormal number of chromosomes affects the proliferation rate of yeast. Basically, we’re trying to guess what gene or genes cause cancer, which I personally think is Pretty Darn Cool.
Of course, I still don’t understand everything about the project – which is to be expected, considering I haven’t even started working yet. I’ll be working primarily with a post-doctoral fellow named Eduardo, who’s going to show me the ropes of the project – particularly in regards to working with yeast culture – and I’m sure he’ll explain the finer details as we go along.
As for what else is going to be on my plate this summer, I hope to pick up my first “real” programming language (it’s looking like Java or Python at this point) and get a jump start on some of my coursework for next semester. Apart from that, I’ll be living in my fraternity, which I’m really looking forward to (about 15 brothers, out of 41 total, are staying). Quite a few of my other friends are also staying on-campus in dorms or some of the fraternities, so I expect I’ll always be able to find something to keep me occupied.
What are your plans for the summer?