Doing a phD is more than hard extenuating experimental work and endless bibliography reading. Beyond the strictly scientific part, doing a phD is a personal life project to improve all kind of soft skills and explore future career opportunities.
As part of my personal career development plan as ESR15 working at AROMICS, I enrolled in the tutoring program BATX2LAB, part of the Research in Society program, an initiative by the Barcelona Science Park to foment dialogue between citizens and researchers and to promote vocations among young people.
I have been always really interested in scientific disseminative and educational activities for general public and I didn’t hesitate back in April to offer myself to tutor two students. After signing up and write down my ongoing research I was matched with two students with similar interests. Face to face meetings were held in June to discuss the actual research plan with the students and their academic tutors. After this, with the approval and valuable support of my supervisor and the company, I invited two 17-year old students to come to AROMICS’s laboratories at PCB during three days in July. I proposed the students to evaluate the toxic effect of metformin in a mesothelioma patient derived cell line using three different techniques: MTT colorimetric assay, trypan blue exclusion test and colony assay. After finishing the practical part, the students have been working on a written report and a literature review about drug repositioning and social impact of mesothelioma to be presented in the upcoming months.
This was my very first teaching experience and it was without any doubts something really enriching. As Albert Einstein said “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”. Explaining every single detail of routine experiments to high school students was a complex exercise of simplification. This experience allowed me to realize and value how much I knew it and how much I like what I am doing and encourage me to work stronger pursuing this career I dreamt about once when I was a teenager myself.
Virginia García Muñoz, AROMICS