Two BME undergraduates, Emily Fomin and Sarah Kubik, spent the summer after their sophomore year doing research at the Institute of Photonics and Electronics in the Czech Academy of Science in Prague. Here is what they reported.
Emily Fomin: Dobrý den! This past summer, I was given the opportunity to assist in an Alzheimer’s Disease research project. The lab focused on an optical biosensing technology called surface plasmon resonance (SPR), which measures the adsorption of a substance on a conductive chip by capturing and recording the acute changes of electromagnetic wave oscillations. My research project involved me using SPR to analyze and understand amyloid beta interactions happening on the intracellular level, knowing that those amino acids are abundantly present in Alzheimer’s patients. Living in Prague was a novel and challenging experience with a language barrier, but it has become my favorite city in the world. From the hearty meat-inspired dishes, to the historic bridges, to the picturesque sunsets on the Vltava, Prague holds a special place in my heart and I cannot wait to return and explore more of Europe.
Sarah Kubik: Spending the summer in Prague doing research was an amazing experience. It was a chance to experience a new culture, while gaining some practical lab skills. The research I worked on was a part of the Alzheimer’s research project. The specific project I worked on involved detection of small concentrations of the proteins, amyloid β-40, amyloid β-42, and Tau-ladder. The ability to detect these proteins at this concentration would aid in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. These experiments were conducted using Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), which involves the angle of light changing in response to different substances and different concentrations binding to a chip. I spent many of my afternoons wandering the city and learning the culture. The architecture of the city was beautiful, and the history of the city felt very present, especially with the Prague Castle. The food was very rich and filling with an abundance of meats, sauces, and potato dumplings. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time in Prague and definitely plan to return one day.