By Aaron Shaykevich, Managing Editor
Aaron Shaykevich (AS): Hi Alex, thank you for taking the time to meet with me. Let’s start by getting to know you.
Hello! I’m an upper sophomore majoring in biochemistry. I grew up in Ottawa, Canada, and came to Yeshiva University after high school.
AS: How did you get involved in this research?
I got involved with research after taking my first introductory biology course, with Professor Maitra. Her research is particularly interesting, as the work is all hands-on as opposed to analyzing data on a computer.
AS: Who’s lab do you work in, and what do you study?
Dr. R. Maitra supervises the lab I work in. We study different colorectal cancer treatments, specifically the different proteins and pathways involved in proliferation affected by different types of drugs.
AS: What did you hope to gain from this research experience?
I hope to gain hands-on experience with research, as well as get published as the first author, which will help prepare and get into medical school.
AS: What role do you play in this lab?
I work on my own project in the lab, which is an incredibly rare opportunity for an undergraduate student. I perform my own experiments, and this experience has led me to work alongside many different professors and students.
AS: Is there anything you encountered that was especially difficult during the research?
In my opinion, the most difficult part of doing research is properly learning all the skills and techniques needed and performing them consistently and accurately. There were also many times when I hit a wall in my research that wasted multiple months, and the only way forward was to backtrack and try a different pathway.
AS: Lastly, do you have any advice for students interested in lab positions?
I think that one of the best ways to get a lab position is to find a professor you have taken or have a relationship with and ask to be part of their research. The key to finding a lab position is being persistent in searching and asking for positions. However, it is always the easiest to find someone who you know who is in research and to then show interest and try to get involved in different ways.