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Summer Internship: Ishana Baboo '25

September 2, 2022

Name: Ishana Baboo
Class Year: 2025
Major: Biology
Hometown: Bryn Mawr, PA

Internship Organization: Weissman Lab at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Job Title: Research Intern
Location: 380 S University Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104

What’s happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!

I’m interning in Dr. Weissman’s lab at the University of Pennsylvania, where I’m working on two projects simultaneously. The first project focuses on developing a vaccine against norovirus, or the stomach flu, which is what I’ve been working on most of my time in the lab. This involves maintaining a cell line, transfecting cells with modified mRNA, and running protein gels and western blots to confirm that the modified mRNA produces the protein we’re looking for. The second project investigates other modes of mRNA vaccine delivery, for which I’m doing many of the same experiments.

Inside of Ishana Baboo's microscope

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because, after seeing the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world, I wanted to be of help in any way I could. Seeing the cutting-edge research that the Weissman Laboratory has done in the last two years (in the form of the Pfizer COVID vaccine), I knew that I wanted to be in a place that is making such valuable strides in scientific research on a daily basis. As someone who is interested in pursuing a career in the medical field and wants to help people, I believe this internship is just the beginning.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?

The biggest challenge that I’ve faced at my internship is learning to be patient. There are many times where we have to repeat experiments several times, and we don’t get the results we expect time after time because of one reason or another. It’s definitely frustrating, because most experiments take two full days to complete, and spending hours doing incubations only to get a bad outcome is definitely unfulfilling. However, that’s science, and I’ve been trying to change my outlook so that I’m not as disappointed if the data is not what I was expecting.  

Ishana Baboo using research equipment in lab

Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?

Rewarding, educational, rigorous

Analysis, benchwork, discussion.

Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.


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