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Summer Internships: Sarah Luke '26

July 14, 2023
Headshot of Sarah Luke

Name: Sarah Luke
Class Year: 2026
Major: Neuroscience
Minor: Spanish
Hometown: Houston, TX

Internship Organization: MD Anderson Cancer Center
Job Title: University Outreach Summer Research Intern
Location: Houston, TX

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

This summer, I have been working alongside Dr. Michael Green and Dr. Haopeng Yang in the Lymphoma and Myeloma Immunology Department at MD Anderson. The lab focuses on discovering and testing various therapeutic measures, such as drug treatments and genetic alterations, to target B-cell Lymphoma. My independent research project focuses on finding ways to treat genetically altered human cell lines. I used the CRISPR genetic editing technique by attaching a piece of RNA to a cell’s DNA, which is then attached to an enzyme called Cas9. This new RNA guide familiarizes itself with the DNA pattern, and the enzyme cuts the sequence. After the incision, DNA auto-repairs itself, allowing me to add or remove genetic material or replace parts of the sequence with a new version of the DNA pattern. I can then use my modified DNA sample to test various therapeutic treatment plans or create even more through cloning! At the end of my internship, I will have the opportunity to present my research and learn more about the work my fellow interns have done.

Cell-culture area in a lab
My cell-culture area where I can perform cloning, western blots, and viral transductions.

Why did you apply for this internship?

As a Houston native, MD Anderson has been an institution I have always been familiar with. When I discovered that Bryn Mawr has a partnership with them, I knew I had to apply to their summer internship program. I have always been passionate about the inner workings of healthcare, specifically the discovery and development of cancer therapy. Seeing MD Anderson's impact on my community and family members inspired me to find a way to contribute to such meaningful research, and this internship was my opportunity to do so. As someone who wants to pursue a career in healthcare, I believe that this opportunity allows me to explore the mechanics behind diagnostic procedures and discover another field within the scope of medicine.

Selfie in front of a computer
When I'm not doing benchwork, I review histology reports and analyze tumor growth in samples.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship thus far has been collaborating with various employees within my lab and witnessing the intersection of different academic specialties within research. The lab I am currently working in has five post-doctoral fellows, four lab managers, five research assistants, and an MD/Ph.D. Each member has a different project they are working on, and I have had the opportunity to work with each one. Having the chance to do benchwork or organizational tasks with different researchers and employees allows me to see the logistical, clinical, and experimental work that makes the lab run smoothly. It truly shows how cohesiveness amongst different lab specialties contributes to the effectiveness of the research. Coming into the internship, I was worried that I would not understand the theory behind the research since it is a biochemistry and epidemiology-focused laboratory. However, having a neuroscience background has allowed me to understand the neurological effects of many treatments we are generating. Many of the post-doctoral fellows have specialties outside of biochemistry, such as biomedical engineering, immunology, and neuroscience. Despite being completely different from each other, the knowledge of different fields allows for the development of unique treatment plans that target a broad range of issues.

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

Fulfilling, educational, experimental

Benchwork, patience, immunology

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

Neuroscience Spanish