SAP experience at Harvard University

I, Krithika Ramachandran, final year B.Tech student was selected by SRM University for doing my final year project at the Harvard Institutes of Medicine, Harvard University, Boston, USA under the Semester Abroad program. My project was for a period of 5 months from September 2011 till February 2012. At Harvard I worked at the Renal Division and did my project under the guidance of Dr. Vishal Vaidya.

Upon my arrival, my first few weeks were spent in getting adjusted in the lab and understanding how everything works there. At this time, I was encouraged to read a lot of research articles and papers so that I can be aware of the current happenings in the renal field. I am very thankful to all the lab members of Vishal sir’s lab who were very welcoming and made me very comfortable in working with them.

As days passed, I started observing and assisting the postdoctoral fellows in the lab with their experiments. I worked along with 2 postdoctoral fellows and one research trainee in the lab. This gave me a lot of practice of all the basic techniques used in a molecular biology lab. I got a chance to get comfortable with techniques like RNA isolation, Real-time PCR, Protein extraction and quantification, Western Blotting, Immunohistochemistry etc, by performing them several times.

After about one and a half months my guide finalized my project titled “Expression and excretion profiles of miR-155, -21 and -18a following Acute Kidney Injury”. Once my project started I had to work on my own. My first feeling was “What if I do something wrong” and honestly I did make mistakes but then every time I made a mistake or a result did not come my guide encouraged me to try again. I learnt that the most important quality required for being a researcher was patience!

As my project involved mouse models, I also got to observe and learn animal handling, how to perform surgery and sacrifice.

I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Vishal Vaidya for having accepted me into his lab and also all his lab members without whom I would not have been able to complete my project work.

This was a very productive period for me as I learnt a lot of new things. This project experience has made my dream of pursuing PhD even stronger and I would surely consider this as my first step to being a researcher.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the International Office, SRM University for giving us this exposure. I also thank our HOD for having faith in my ability and selecting me for this program and all my professors for their invaluable support and encouragement.

This has been a truly wonderful learning experience for me and it would surely help me further in my career.

- Krithika Ramachandran
  Final Yr B.Tech Genetic Engg,
  SAP student