Amy Austrin secured a five-week internship as part of the Interreg REDPOL (reduction of pollution by endocrine disrupting compounds at source) project this summer, and helped Dr Wulan Koagouw in the lab. Read what Amy has to say about the skills learned during her internship.
280L of artificial seawater, 300 cleaned mussels and 120 tissue samples later…Over the last 5 weeks, I have spent some fantastic days in the laboratory with the Redpol team at the University of Brighton. It has truly been an invaluable experience.
From day one my supervisor Wulan made me feel comfortable within the lab and talked me through the programme to make sure we could fit in two rounds of exposures within my time there. As a student who feels very comfortable doing fieldwork, I was nervous about being within the lab. Although there was a lot to learn to ensure each step was performed correctly, Wulan talked me through each process I would be performing clearly, which allowed me to feel confident to undertake the tasks correctly. Some of my responsibilities was creating the artificial seawater, pipetting tissue preservatives, setting up the cold room and the final task of dissecting the mussels for molecular and histology analysis.
Throughout the weeks, my confidence and abilities have grown in all these areas, showing that this opportunity has provided me with transferable skills for future lab experience and experimental design. Some of the essential skills gained are being aware of potential cross-contamination and learning the anatomy of mussels to identify the correct tissues for dissection.
Also, the importance of asking questions as you learn so much! I got to discuss the rationale for concentrations of each contaminant, how collaborations with other universities and researchers help inspire experimental design and the hopes for the future impacts of the research.
This internship has definitely inspired me on what I would like my future career to be. Thank you to Interreg RedPol for the opportunity!!