"I have learned many amazing things through my work in the REI department, and am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work here. First, I have learned important laboratory skills that have been crucial to my development as a student in science. Secondly, I have learned how to think critically in regards to scientific research, which I attribute to the weekly meetings that I attend with Dr. Dumesic and the other REI students. Most importantly (as cliché as it sounds), I have learned to truly appreciate scientific and clinical research and have gained a respect for it that I hold very dear to my heart. While clinical work and patient interaction is important and extremely rewarding, scientific research is the only thing that can provide true medical advancement. I have been very fortunate to work in this department, and especially with these people."
"I wanted to become involved in fertility research so I did an extensive search on PubMed and found Dr. Dumesic’s work particularly compelling. I sent him an email asking if he would be willing to sit down with me and discuss his current work. At the end of our meeting, he asked what I was looking to get out of the meeting and I told him I wanted to become involved in his work. And here I am, a year and a half later! I plan to stay another two years.
I began doing entry-level tasks, placing orders, learning how to do cell culture work, etc. Both Dr. Dumesic and Dr. Chazenbalk very generously spent time discussing their research with me on a weekly basis, giving me papers to read and having me explain these papers to them (as a training exercise). Dr. Dumesic met with me for an hour every week to discuss the physiology of REI while Dr. Chazenbalk emphasized the basic science aspect of things. I also began attending the weekly OB/GYN grand rounds meeting to further familiarize myself with the various aspects of OB/GYN research. I began helping Dr. Chazenbalk with his Muse cell project a few months in, which later led to me helping to write a scientific paper and earning the privilege of being the second author on his published manuscript. This and other tasks eventually led me to the development of my own project, which is currently underway. I recently presented the data I have collected so far in the form of an oral abstract at this year’s conjoint meeting for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the International Federation of Fertility Societies in Boston. Thanks in no small way to my experience working in the REI Division I plan to apply to medical school to continue my pursuit of a career in REI."
"Among my best experiences working as a student clinical research assistant in REI was the one-on-one mentoring I got from Dr. Dumesic, Dr. Kamdar and Dr. Azziz. along with some of the REI fellows at the time. I also enjoyed being in an environment that was so bent on having me learn a lot rather than being just a cog in a research wheel. The most important things I learned were about data collection and forming a question, writing an abstract, and the process of paper writing (especially with Dr. Dumesic’s guidance). Lastly, I leaned a whole ton about PCOS! Overall the REI lab experience helped me to get used to the research setting/working in a university research setting as well as interacting with attendings and thinking in a more “life-scientist way.” In contrast to what I was used to in class (just memorizing and repeating on a test), it was so nice to be able to come up with my own questions and work towards answering them based on various research."
"I began working with Dr. Dumesic and Dr. Chazenbalk both in the laboratory and through didactic sessions. My days initially consisted of reading about the current project (adipogenesis in human tissue cells), receiving the needed biosafety training/certification to volunteer, learning cell culture, RNA extraction, cDNA conversion, immunofluorescence, microscopy and qRTPCR techniques from Dr. Chazenbalk. I also attended weekly didactic sessions with Dr. Dumesic, learning about the endocrinology of reproduction and diseases associated, including PCOS. I assisted with some lab managerial tasks as needed.
Over time I was privileged to gain more responsibility and work on my own individual research project. Additionally, I was responsible for training fellows and incoming undergraduates, including the development of new techniques. I learned new skills including training in confocal microscopy, which enabled me to follow through on my individual research project. I also at this point was able to play a greater role in assisting in manuscript compilation and working on my own manuscript as first author. I also assisted in organizing and acquiring approval from the Institutional Biosafety Committee for our laboratory space.
Dr. Dumesic makes it a point to make sure his mentees understand what they are doing and why they are doing it."