I officially moved from Atlanta to Birmingham to start PREP at UAB in the summer of 2010. After orientation and interviewing with a couple of UAB faculty members in the Biomedical Engineering Department, I decided to conduct research under the advisement of Dr. Yuhua Song. Her lab is split into computational and experimental biology. I chose to work in her newly-formed experimental lab and investigate protein-protein binding for drug discovery, specifically cancer drugs. For the first couple of weeks, I shadowed a visiting scholar in one of her collaborators labs since I was the only person currently in her experimental lab. Soon, an entering graduate student moved in the lab and we went over all the techniques we needed to get started with protein culture.
When Fall arrived, I elected to take a Ph.D. level course in the Fundamentals of Biochemistry because I knew that the class would be help me with my research. I also took a PREP class to prepare me for the GRE writing section. The highlight of my Fall semester was attending the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) held in Charlotte, NC. The conference was very informative and gave me an opportunity to meet recruiting representatives from other schools as well as view other students’ research. I made some very important contacts and applied to several of the schools I met with at ABRCMS along with UAB.
My research continued to progress throughout the Fall and into the Spring when I took a Cancer Biology class along with a PREP class on oral presentations. The classes gave me a new perspective on my research and the confidence to express my findings to audiences of varying sizes. At the end of Spring, I was accepted into the BME graduate school program at UAB and decided to stay here to continue my studies. My year-long experience with PREP has been very enjoyable. I have made many friends both inside and outside of the program, and I have met my goal of going to graduate school for Biomedical Engineering.
Finally, I would recommend UAB PREP to anyone looking to increase their research experience before heading to graduate school. Everyone involved with PREP at UAB is extremely helpful, motivated, and encouraging. They offer wonderful resources for applying to various graduate programs related to the sciences, and I am proud to say that I was a part of the program.