At the University of Colorado Boulder, the JILA lab is helping students get started on their careers.
Sarah Cates is a sophomore at the university and is employed at the Tom Perkins Lab where they are studying DNA samples and single molecule biophysics.
“I’m working with my graduate lab associate on his thesis that he’s publishing to get his Ph.D.,” said Cates. “The reason why we’re doing this is because there was a paper that was published about the conformational changes that DNA go through.”
This is important because different sized DNA will fold differently than others depending on the techniques that the research team uses. The research project that the Tom Perkins lab is currently operating is in response and as a counterargument to another study. Their findings throughout this project can offer insight into the process of DNA replication.
JILA and the Tom Perkins lab allow for current undergraduate students to be involved with their research project. The lab mainly looks to recruit younger students to help them learn the techniques they need if those students want to pursue grad school or other forms of research.
“It means I have a job on campus that also progressing my academics,” said Cates.
While the work that is done at JILA and the Tom Perkins lab may not be as interesting to the general public, their research can pave the way for science to have a better understanding on how our bodies work, and this path can be paved by even the youngest students.