Biochemistry Student Gains Experience at Coveted Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Internship

By Jenna Pizzi

Published on July 16, 2019

Blake Nelson and his fellow interns at Cold Spring Harbor LaboratoryChosen as one of eighteen undergraduates from among more than 850 applicants, Blake Nelson BC’20 is gaining hands-on experience at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, where eight Nobel laureates have contributed to major discoveries in science. Nelson is performing research on RNA from breast cancer organoids to discover more about the disease. 

Nelson, who hopes to pursue an advanced degree upon graduation from USciences. said this opportunity will help him to stand out from other applicants and advance the research skills he began at USciences’ in the lab of Dr. Nathan Baird, interim chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

“I will be able to say that I had my own project at one of the countries’ top-rated research institutions, all while gaining professional connections with principal investigators and with fellow undergraduates in the program,” said Nelson. 

Throughout the summer Nelson is working with the same long, non-coding RNA (MALAT1) that he is familiar with from Dr. Baird’s lab on campus. 

“In Dr. Baird’s lab, I have been synthesizing the RNA in vitro and using analytical instruments to investigate the structure of the RNA,” said Nelson. At Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory,  He is working in Dr. David Spector’s lab performing RNA Fluorescence in-situ hybridization experiments using donor breast cancer tumors from local hospitals to determine how the levels of the MALAT1 RNA is expressed in the tumors.

“I think this experience will impact my research interests moving forward by allowing me to broaden my skill set by getting experience in the more biological side of research,” said Nelson. 

In addition to the research opportunities, during his time at the internship, Nelson is able to attend classes, workshops, and conferences held at the laboratory in order to broaden his scientific knowledge and professional network.

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