Please introduce yourself.
Mehrose Ahmad (BC '21): My name is Mehrose Ahmad and I am originally from Queens, New York! Born and raised in Queens, I've spent my whole life in New York. For college, I actually attended Barnard College (Class of 2021!). I majored in biochemistry and researched in the Austin Lab. As part of Dr. Austin's research group and in collaboration with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Christina L. Vizcarra, I researched a neuronal protein known as Metallothionein-III, which has implications in various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. I focused on the metal binding properties of this protein and used various spectrometry techniques to characterize Metallothionein-III structurally. Currently, as a Barnard graduate, I am working within Barnard's very own Biology Department in the Lopatkin Lab. I am working as a full time research technician, and am supporting Assistant Professor Allison Lopatkin's work in studying antibiotic resistance, bacterial metabolism, and horizontal gene transfer dynamics.
Corey Marshalleck: I am from Hyattsville, MD, about 15 minutes from Washington, DC. I’m a huge lover of movies. I recently graduated from Syracuse University where I majored in Biology and Forensic Science. During my time at Syracuse, I worked for the Kate Lewis Lab as a Lab Assistant. The Lewis Lab mainly studies spinal cord development in zebrafish. I am currently a Lab Technician in the Snow Lab with Associate Professor Jon Snow, where we are studying the impact of Nosema ceranae infection in honey bees. Our latest project involves using flow cytometry in order to better understand the life cycle of Nosema ceranae. Also I’m just excited to have this opportunity and if anyone has any questions regarding research or anything else, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mehrose, what drew you to the Lopatkin Lab and antibiotic resistance research? Corey, what drew you to the Snow Lab and honey bee research?
MA: What drew me to the Lopatkin Lab was both the lab environment and the scientific research being conducted in that environment. I am confident that we all care about our work, and also care about each other: I think both of these components are essential for an ideal work space. In regards to antibiotic research in our lab and antibiotic resistance research more generally, what drew me to this field was the direct clinical significance of our work. Antibiotic resistance is on the rise, and has the potential to become a leading contributor to mortality.
CM: In general, I am drawn to the learning aspect of research. I would also say that I am also drawn to the problem-solving aspect as well. I have so much since I’ve started conducting research with the Snow Lab. The fact that we’re trying to better understand something that is affecting the honey bee population is very important to me.
Having a mentor in the lab has allowed me to gain confidence in the work that I do, gain technical skills, improve my critical thinking, and broaden my knowledge of the sciences. Being a mentor in the lab will provide me with an opportunity to give back, and help others in the way that I have been helped throughout my academic career.
What do you value most about mentorship (both having one and being one) in the lab?
CM: Mentorship allows for great learning opportunities. There is so much you can learn from those who have already been involved in research, and it also allows you to pass on whatever you might have learned along the way to those who you can mentor.
MA: Genuine mentorship has the potential to be an asset to one's personal and professional life. Having a mentor in the lab has allowed me to gain confidence in the work that I do, gain technical skills, improve my critical thinking, and broaden my knowledge of the sciences. Being a mentor in the lab will provide me with an opportunity to give back, and help others in the way that I have been helped throughout my academic career.
What excites you as a scientist? What drew you to STEM?
MA: The opportunity to make a substantial impact in scientific and clinical realms draws me to research.
CM: Science has always caught my attention and that’s due to the search for answers that is involved in scientific research. There are so many things we have learned through science and research and there is so much more left to learn. Science allows us to grasp a more substantial understanding of our world and universe.
There are so many things we have learned through science and research and there is so much more left to learn. Science allows us to grasp a more substantial understanding of our world and universe.
What advice would you give to a first year at Barnard interested in pursuing research but uncertain where to start? How do you deal with setbacks or frustrations in the lab?
CM: My advice would be to start reading and see what you’re interested in, and maybe start looking into taking a lab class to see what you like. Also don’t be afraid to start networking with your professors to determine if there are any research opportunities for you to get involved in.
AM: I would advise anyone who is interested in research, but uncertain on where to start, to talk to people! These "people" can range from your professors to your peers: your peers can talk to you about how they pursued their research opportunities, what they enjoy about research, and how their relationship is with their research mentor. Professors can talk about their work and advise you on how to pursue research opportunities. By coupling the advice and experiences from various individuals at different stages of their careers, I hope that first years can gain more insight on where to start.