Bianca Ho, HIP 2013

Bianca Ho, HIP 2013
McGill University, Canada

Sandra McAllister Lab, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

One of Bianca’s favorite memories of her HSCI Internship Program experience was a going-away present for a laboratory technician who was leaving to pursue his PhD. The gift was a pair of dirty socks that he kept in the lab, but thought he’d thrown out.

“It just showed me the kind of community you become,” Bianca said. “It’s not just the work; when you’re researching side by side with people, you become close friends.”

Bianca spent her summer at HSCI developing a tool using single cell clones to study metastasis in breast cancer. Before she applied, she shared the common perception that stem cells are only a panacea. She quickly learned that stem cells are also valuable tools for learning about basic cell biology and drug discovery.

“The stem cell field has definitely made science better across the board,” she said.

Bianca also learned that it’s o.k. for scientists to make mistakes. Halfway through the summer, she needed to throw out three of her experiments because the shared cell culture medium became contaminated. Despite the setback, and with support from her supervisors, she started over and recovered her data.

By the end of her summer, Bianca became so fascinated with the cutting-edge field of cancer stem cells that she changed her career path. Originally, she wanted to be a doctor, but she is now looking into MD/PhD programs.

“Getting involved in research has opened my eyes to what other things I can do with my life,” she said.