From Intern to Research Technician | Blair Kreh, M.S.'22
Blair Kreh, M.S.'22, started as an intern with the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, which helped him land a job as a research technician. He recently defended his master's thesis, which was based on his experiences in the lab. In his own words, he presents the findings of his study below.
Hood College grad student and cancer lab researcher defends master's thesis
- Biomedical Science (M.S.)
After my second year at Hood College (in 2019), I began an eight-week summer internship working as a program trainee at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. Over the eight-week period, I was trained in cell culture and molecular biology techniques, and I developed an understanding for how science is conducted at the professional level.
After the internship, I had the opportunity to continue my training at Frederick National Laboratory the following summer. However, due to the pandemic, I resumed my training in the fall of 2020. During that fall, I completed my semester-long undergraduate capstone project and was promoted to a research technician once I graduated with my bachelor’s in biology.
Since then, I pursued a year-long thesis project with the lab, as a requirement for my master’s degree, and successfully defended my thesis in March of this year. My thesis was titled, “Assessment of a novel RAR-γ selective agonist in vitro and in combination treatment with immune checkpoint inhibition in vivo using a syngeneic murine lung cancer model.”
Lung cancer has the highest morality rate of all cancers, affects both male and female populations, and is generally caused by smoking cigarettes. Most forms of lung cancer are resistant to chemotherapy, and therefore, innovative therapies must be developed. This study assessed a novel immunotherapy to treat lung cancer, which activates components of the immune system to selectively target cancer cells.
The experience—an eight-week internship that turned into three years of employment—provided insight into biomedical research at the professional level, and I learned how to coordinate long-term projects, how to collaborate effectively with colleagues, and how to conduct complex scientific experiments.
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