Digging Deeper, Branching Out

For the past two semesters, I have had the most amazing experience being involved in Biology Research. I had been interested in research in the past, but had never gained the courage to ask how to be a part of this opportunity until the beginning of my sophomore year. We were presented all of the research opportunities at a Research Chapel, and I had felt compelled to take the chance. I decided to reach out to Dr. Brokaw, and I am extremely grateful that I did. Dr. Brokaw has gone above and beyond as a research mentor and has provided me with opportunities that have helped me grow in so many ways.

Thus far, I have been able to work with the South American rodent genus Thomasomys and along the way have learned the process of amplifying DNA through PCR, how primers anneal to DNA sequences, gel electrophoresis, DNA purification, and how to edit sequence data and acquire phylogenies from them. I was able to present some of our data at the Texas Society of Mammalogists Conference this past spring with Dr. Tom Lee and Hannah Seah and loved being able to present what we had been working on to others.

Sharing knowledge and data that you have obtained with others is something that is of great importance to me, and it was an amazing experience to be involved in. Research has taught me that experience and practice are essential in the research lab just like they are in other parts of life. When I had first started learning about the process and techniques of PCR and gel electrophoresis, there were disappointing moments when bands didn’t show up in the gels like they should. Learning these techniques required practice and patience, but the work has been well worth it.

My desire to gain more experiences working in the research lab here at ACU has led to many exciting opportunities to acquire knowledge and learn new research protocols. Toward the end of this past semester I have been able to work with cave bacterial isolates in the genus Pseudomonas and South American species of the plant genus Mentzelia, and I couldn’t be more thankful for Dr. Brokaw and Dr. Huddleston for taking the time and having the patience to work with me and mentor me in something I have found deeply interesting.

Biology Research is something I will always recommend to people interested in learning more and who love biology. I have had an amazing time learning so many new things this past year and can’t wait for all of the new experiences and opportunities to learn from in the coming years!


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