Q&A with Former PS-OC Intern, Sydney Connor

Last summer, Sydney Connor from Arizona State University was an intern in the Physical Sciences-Oncology Center at INBT. We caught up with Sydney to find out how her experience has shaped her academic experience and influenced her career decisions.

Tell us about the project you worked on in summer 2018.

This summer I worked in Dr. Sharon Gerecht’s lab to assist in the development of an in vitro system to model the tumor microenvironment. This system allowed for us to investigate T-cell migration in different experimental conditions.

What types of opportunities did the PS-OC program provide you that you otherwise would not have received?

The PS-OC program gave me the opportunity to spend time at Johns Hopkins, a school I never thought I would even be able to see much less work at. In addition, the program allowed me to visit the NIH and present amongst peers also interested in cancer research.

Have you presented a poster and/or do you plan on publishing a paper regarding this research?

Yes, I presented a poster at the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) conference this fall. The paper for the project has been submitted for review.

How has the PS-OC program affected your future academic and career plans?  

The PS-OC program has helped me in determining my research interests as I apply for graduate school. Specifically, the program allowed me to see how a bioengineer could pursue research in a field classically pursued by biologists. This program also gave me the opportunity to meet researchers at Hopkins and the NIH that I never could have been exposed to otherwise.

Tell me about the types of relationships you developed while interning. How was your relationship with your mentors?

I had the best mentors while interning at Hopkins. Hawley Pruitt, my main mentor, taught me how to approach research through the lens of a cancer biologist. While Daniel Lewis helped me to apply software I learned in school to the research we were doing in the Gerecht lab. Both mentors have continued to mentor me throughout the graduate school application process.

Would you recommend the PS-OC program to other students?

I would recommend the PS-OC program to other students as it allowed me to perform and present research amongst some of the most kind and brilliant people I have had the pleasure to meet and work with.

Story by: INBT