This summer, I traveled to Bethesda, MD for an internship at the NIH. I am working in Dr. Maurice Burg's lab in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. My project investigates the mechanism behind salt-induced cellular senescence and DNA breaks. I have learned an array of new techniques, including a cool assay called Single Cell Gel Electrophoresis. This technique is commonly referred to as the Comet Assay because the end product, a cell with fluorescently stained DNA that has migrated out of the space occupied by the nucleus, resembles a comet in the night sky (see picture).
The NIH is only a 15 minute metro ride away from D.C. From watching the 4th of July fireworks display on the National Mall to attending the Smithsonian Folk Festival to visiting the Smithsonians and national landmarks, I have had no shortage of things to do in the capital. My favorite event so far? The July 4th concert on the lawn of the Capitol featuring Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin, Natasha Bedingfield, Jersey Boys, Michael Feinstein, the National Symphony Orchestra, and the Sesame Street Muppets. Between the research at the NIH and the happenings in D.C., this has been an amazing summer.