Gabriel DiNatale ’14
Major(s): Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Internship Site: Massachusetts General Hospital- Boston, MA
I secured my internship with the aid of my friend’s uncle. He is a research scientist at a pharmaceutical (GlaxoSmithKline) and was involved in a collaboration with a laboratory at MGH. He provided me with the contact information for that lab. I submitted two other letters of recommendation to the laboratory as well as my CV, and I was notified that I had received a position in the lab as a summer intern.
My main project included a study that analyzed the effects of a drug on hallmark tumor characteristics via tissue staining. I performed a lot of immunohistochemistry and came up with some interesting finds. I also aided the lab in retrieving tissue specimens from the operating room to use for animal implantation as well as tissue banking. Furthermore, I processed patients’ blood for banking. My favorite project was my immunohistochemistry study because I learned a new skill and performed a very crucial experiment that will uncover a lot about how pancreatic tumors communicate with their surrounding tissue. I enjoyed this project the most because it gave me the opportunity to discover interesting scientific findings that were previously unknown.
Genetics was the most useful course by far. The genetics course taught concepts that are crucial in basic research such as gene expression, gene inhibition, epigenetics, as well as a slew of other crucial concepts. My project dealt largely with epigenetics. The drug that was used in the study was an epigenetic inhibitor, and its effect on tumor microenvironment was scrutinized in human pancreatic cancer implanted in mice. Coming into this lab with the knowledge I had gained from my genetics course at Dickinson provided me with a solid understanding of the rationale behind the experiments and their design.
I have learned skills that are crucial to becoming a research scientist. Learning laboratory skills is just part of learning how to be a good scientist. Furthermore, in speaking to my superior, I have received very good advice to guide my future goals, such as graduate school. Her advice to me was to take one year after graduating Dickinson to intern part-time in a really good lab in the Philadelphia area as well as work part time for my parents’ non-profit foundation called the Alicia Rose “Victorious” Foundation . She encouraged me to apply to an MD, PhD program for the year following my gap year. This internship provided me the opportunity to speak with professionals who have gone through the same processes that I will hopefully go through in my future, and thus, gave me valuable knowledge.
Tips from Gabriel:
First, you should reflect on careers that are most relevant to your interests. In addition, you should update or create a CV that describes the individual. Use any tools available to look for internships and speak to experienced students who have interned in the field before. Upon finding interesting locations or professions to intern at, I email the person who would be hiring and ask if there are any openings for interns.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.