This summer I had the incredible opportunity of working at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. In Dr. Mike Salter’s lab, I was able to both learn and utilize the complex method of in vitro electrophysiology. This was truly the best summer I’ve had yet!
One of the things that struck me on my first day at work was how incredible the facility was. I had never worked in such a polished and refined lab space. With floor to ceiling windows in the common area overlooking downtown, on the days I was in early for an experiment I got to see the sun rise over the skyline as I drank my morning coffee.
Additionally, the people I worked with were phenomenal. Every member of the lab was extraordinarily smart, which is not uncommon in research labs; what I really noticed was how willing they were to share their knowledge with me. Without their guidance, I never would have been able to accomplish as much as I did over the 4 months.
Finally, an important lesson I learned this summer was that you can’t fail in science. I spent the whole summer pursuing a hypothesis that ended up with a huge p-value. I took this result to my final lab meeting, and felt like a failure. However, right after I gave my result, the whole lab began to brainstorm other ideas and mechanisms – it felt like the beginning of a new adventure, and less like the end. My only regret is that I had to return to school instead of continuing on the journey!