The development and testing of new products at Cell Signaling Technology (CST) involves the work of many teams using different techniques and technologies. This presents a variety of opportunities for summer interns to gain first-hand experience on projects ranging from bioinformatics to cell culture and staining tissue samples. For most students, a CST internship offers their first experience in a biotech lab and in a team-driven, professional (but still fun) environment.
This year, CST hosted 36 interns from local colleges and high schools, including recipients of the 2017 CST Science Scholarship. Interns were mentored by scientists not only in technical skills but also in the workings of the company. Interns were placed in departments across CST, ranging from early screening and purification stages of the antibody development pipeline, to later steps such as application testing, production, and conjugation, and to the business side with marketing and IT.
Immediately, I felt like I had a support system. Everyone in my department was so welcoming and always available for questions. By my second week at CST, I was already running my own experiments. By my third week, I was presenting our findings at group meetings. It always felt that what I was doing was making a difference and that it was not simply for the poster presentation at the end of our internship. I grew so much from this experience, not only as a scientist but also as a person.
– Shannon Silva, CST Intern, 2016 Science Scholarship Winner
A common theme in many of the interns’ projects was developing, optimizing, and troubleshooting assays and protocols, no doubt providing a practical lesson for those interns wishing to embark on a scientific career. Intern projects contributed to validation of reagents and new products, for example as part of the western blot, immunohistochemistry, and ChIP teams. Other projects included authentication of cell lines, further supporting the effort to make research more reliable and reproducible.
This summer has been a very great learning experience. I've done my best to learn about how chemistry is put into practice in the real world from afar, but nothing comes close to actually getting out there and putting it into practice yourself. I would love to do it again.
– Benjamin Rich, CST Intern
The internships were not limited to wet labs. After all, the value of any CST product comes from the efforts of diverse people from both scientific and non-scientific backgrounds at the bench and beyond. Accordingly, a subset of interns applied their skills to projects such as market analysis used for business decisions, implementation of machine learning, building new in-house IT applications for scientists, and discovering novel targets using proteomics.
One particular thing that I liked was the effort towards helping us on our career path or helping us think about our career paths. Specific to my own internship experience I really enjoyed that I was given space to try things and either succeed or fail on my own... It made me feel more responsible.
– Kienan Salvadore, CST Intern
Towards the end of the internship, summer interns presented their work to coworkers at the annual Intern Poster Day. It was a fun event, active with excited scientific conversations, and an opportunity for well-deserved recognition at the end of a busy and immersive summer.
Are you a student who is eager to apply for an internship for 2018, or know someone who is? Bookmark our Education in Science page for information on applying to both the CST Science Scholarship and the Summer Internship programs.