Thinksteam Blog

Empower, Enable, and Encourage Girls to Excel

Learning Hands On In A Lab

May 23, 2019 - Uncategorized -


It’s Sofia, the Arizona student ambassador! I hope you are all having a wonderful last few months of school. I wanted to share with you a STEAM-related experience I’ve been fortunate to have had.

Throughout this year, I’ve been working at the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona, where the lab’s focus is on the study of autoimmune disorders, and the specific ways to treat system lupus erythematosus (SLE), a particular autoimmune disorder that attacks multiple types of tissue. This lab is at the forefront of Alzheimer’s research and the study of the ApoE4 gene, and their remedy has gone to clinical trial.

I’ve learned so much through this work experience – from the basics of how a lab is run, to how to cut mice kidneys! I often do histology of various kinds, where I take pictures of slides, and analyze them for different bio markers. For example, using a DAPI staining on a fluorescent microscope, I can see apoptotic cells (cells that are dying) and through measuring its quantity, assess the health of the mouse. I also do sectioning, which is the process of forming extremely thin sheets of tissue to place onto a slide, so that it can be stained and viewed under a microscope.

One of the really cool aspects of working at a lab is the collaboration  among coworkers. My colleges include two chemistry majors, as well as female chemical engineers, biochemistry majors, master’s students, and several females that have PhD’s. The private investigator of the lab is a female doctorate, and was Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Southern California. Everybody has different and unique perspectives to offer, and I have learned so much from them.

I look forward to hearing from you on a blog post on how you have taken the initiative and done something cool in the STEAM field!!

All the Best,
Sofia Melnychuck

BASIS Tucson North, 9th grade


Leave a Reply