Name: Linghan Mei
Class Year: 2019
Major: Biology and German
Hometown: Urumqi, China
This summer I worked in a transporter biology lab at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. I applied to this internship because I had hoped to experience biomedical research in a slightly different capacity after working in the Brodfuehrer Lab in the Biology Department on campus for a whole year. It was a refreshing change of scenery living in the Midwest, and working in a large medical center provided me with excellent mentorship and opportunities to attend lectures given by top-notch clinicians and researchers.
Working in a lab where the mentors have less pedagogical responsibilities is interesting since everyone in the lab is fully devoted to pushing the research progress forward. This was initially challenging to me as the pace at work can seem very stressful, and it’s not uncommon to have a full house in lab even on weekends. Nevertheless, my mentors provided us a conducive environment for learning. My peers and I were required to present on our individual progress every week at lab meeting and participate in seminars given in the department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering. I was encouraged to question the approaches that we used in the project and think critically about the strengths and limitations of different approaches. I also attended weekly mini-lectures on physiology of the kidney and urinary system which gave me a taste of the density of lectures in graduate school.
What I enjoy the most was working with both young and experienced researchers with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. I was drawn to engineering because of its ability to translate knowledge into solution and this process of translation takes expertise in almost all the fundamental sciences. The effective integration of different ways of thinking always proves to be the key to success.
The graduate school played an important role in supporting us by organizing various panels and networking events that connected us with clinicians, researchers, and graduate students of diverse backgrounds. As a rising senior, their great advice and fascinating stories helped me put things into perspective and feel more confident and assured about my career path.