Saturday, August 24, 2013

Through their lens: Nikolas Victoria learns the value of communication and collaboration in the lab

This summer we're sponsoring high school interns in stem cell labs throughout California. We asked those students to contribute to our Instagram photos and YouTube videos about life in the lab, and write about their experiences.

Nikolas Victoria did a stem cell research internship this summer in the laboratory of Thomas Weimbs at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Nikolas Victoria submitted this photo of his life in the lab to our #CIRMStemCellLab Instagram feed.
One of the most amazing things about research is the community surrounding it all, and the interactions that occur among people in both related and unrelated fields of research. Everyone has something that they can learn from another person. It seems that there are several instances of the answer to research question being found by viewing the question through a completely different perspective. Communication and interaction is really one of the most important skills of being a researcher. You could be one of the most brilliant scientists of all time, but if you can properly communicate your findings, what is it worth? But this is not just limited to research of science, communication can get a person farther in life than most other skills. Along with this is being able to collaborate with others to work toward a common goal. In my summer research, my goal was to answer a small question in the much larger question of finding a treatment for the disease ADPKD. It may have been a small portion of the overall effort, especially since it was limited to a 5-6 week study, but bit of information can be shared and given to other researchers to further our knowledge. The results I got from my research may have been relatively small, but the feeling of getting actual results, that I created, was worth the all of the tedious repetition of the tests. Its vastly different than high school; in the research lab, you know that your results have some real significance to the real world, and that you are contributing to the cumulative knowledge of the world. Research is not a selfish occupation. You have to be willing to share information and help others. It can also be a very humble occupation, despite some of the glory that occasionally accompanies it. You have to be aware of the possibility of being wrong much of the time. You also have to be aware that major discoveries rarely occur on first time a hypothesis is tested.

Nikolas Victoria

Nikolas sent us this video of his experience:

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