Area(s) of Study
Biology, Politics / Data Science
Kumanovo, North Macedonia
Why did you want to conduct undergraduate research?
I'm an immensely curious person who enjoys learning different subjects. I believe that research is an efficient method to learn something completely new. During my college experience before RFUMS, I did research in the politics department, and I was a Richter Scholar. However, I wanted to gain a new experience by being a part of a lab. I was hoping to improve my lab skills, as well as become more independent and comfortable.
What research did you conduct at Rosalind Franklin University and why is it important?
The goal of my research was to successfully grow the Murine hepatitis virus (MHV-1) in a mouse cell culture. Additionally, I formed plaque assays to isolate and purify the virus and determine the viral titer, and I performed a Western blot to detect viral proteins, such as NSP9. MHV-1 induces severe pneumonia in mice and has similar immunological and pathological characteristics as SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. This research could help to potentially evaluate novel coronavirus therapeutics.
How has this research helped you grow intellectually and personally?
A significant part of lab research is related to patience: waiting for cells to grow, PCR and Western blot techniques to finish, or a virus to infect cells. You must be patient when performing experiments because one small error could significantly affect your results, potentially resulting in repeating the experiment which could be a large problem if it's a project you've worked on for weeks already. I have grown intellectually by learning notably more on virology, and to "think like a scientist" - where I would try to figure out why experiments wouldn't work and then find methods to improve my mistakes.
How has it helped you to strengthen and/or refine your career goal and what is your professional path ahead?
Even before being selected as an RFUMS scholar, I wanted to pursue a career in epidemiology. Being a part of the microbiology and immunology department helped me become more certain in pursuing this career, especially since most of the summer I was working with an infectious pathogen, the MHV-1 virus.
Would you encourage others to do undergraduate research? Why?
I would encourage every undergraduate student to give a chance to research. Sometimes people get scared because they aren't sure if they have the necessary skills to contribute or perform well in research. However, research is a learning process exploring different techniques to enhance your results. Research gives you a different approach to academia, especially since in college classes we often follow the material in textbooks or procedures in the lab guide. Participating in research broadens your knowledge of a specific subject.