Time Flies in Bangalore

3/7/17

As the initial part of the bee project comes to an end, we have gained enough preliminary data to move into a different animal model: Drosophila melanogaster, or the common house fly. These insects are quite similar to humans genetically and, as a result, have been very useful in the study of human genetics. However, it takes time to obtain the proper flies with the right mutations, so time just flew by. Overall, it has been an interesting experience learning to handle them. They are not as annoying, almost cute even, when they are contained in vials as compared to when they are flying around your food…

I began helping with another project in the meanwhile, in which I was able to utilize skills from my previous research experiences, while also gaining a better understanding of various molecular biology assays. It is really important to know the basics when you want to delve deeper into something. With this other project, I got to learn the basic molecular biology techniques I haven’t had the chance to study previously.

It was a wonderful opportunity, not only because I got to work with others in the lab but also because I was able to more seamlessly interact with other interns my age. I was even able to get a good picture of a researcher’s path in India. Although there are many similarities, there is one striking difference. From my understanding, a good number of those entering into a career in research may not have had the opportunity to intern and learn more about this career path during their college time. Some enter into their Master’s Degree without ever having worked in the laboratory setting before. Having been working in a research lab since the beginning of my freshman year at the University of Michigan, I was a bit shocked. I am grateful to have this opportunity to explore potential career options and get my foot in the door through fellowships like SiSA. Even though I have experience working with stem cells, this internship at inStem allows me to approach research from a different side. Animal models are crucial to understanding many biological processes and their applications to humans. Experience working with honeybees and flies will go a long way in my future as a researcher. I really look forward to what the next few weeks have in store for me!

**A quick side note is that this post was written about 2 weeks ago, but I hadn’t had the chance to post. To add, the date here, in India, is written with the day first and not the month. Although it doesn’t take long to notice, it takes a while to get used to, especially in regards to expiration dates on food items…

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About Vijay Vobbilisetty

Vijay is a sophomore majoring in Biomedical Engineering. He will be spending the summer interning at inStem, an autonomous research institute in Bangalore, India. The institute is funded by the Department of Biotechnology and emphasizes collaborative research on stem cell biology. In his project, Vijay will use state-of the-art disease modeling techniques to bridge the gap in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying inherited cardiomyopathies by analyzing the effects of certain genetic mutations on the physiology and function of cardiomyocytes, muscle cells that compose heart tissue. After his undergraduate experience, Vijay would like to continue to pursue his interest in cardiovascular research and go on to medical school.

One thought on “Time Flies in Bangalore

  1. Vijay, your research sounds so interesting! Although, I’m not sure that I would go as far as to call a fly cute….

    I’m happy to hear that you have been able to interact with other individuals in your lab, and also learn more about the research culture in India. I definitely see the value in having lab experience early on and I can tell from your blog that it has had a great impact on your education thus far. However, I also think that looking at the culture in India and seeing why they may not have those experiences, or why they have the path they do is important as well.

    Thanks for teaching me about the dates in India!

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