Biology Major Conducting Ovarian Cancer Research as Part of Internship
As an intern in the Yang-Hartwich Lab in the Yale School of Medicine, Madeline Morrisson ’20 is applying what she has learned in the classroom to assist with research that could lead to a better understanding of cancerous tumors and treatment.
August 8, 2019
By Madeline Morrisson ’20
This summer, I am completing an internship at the Yang-Hartwich Lab in the Yale School of Medicine. The lab is mainly focused on ovarian cancer, particularly on how exercise can affect tumors and new drugs that can be used to treat it.
After spending about 10 hours a week in the lab for two semesters, I was very excited to take on a full-time position, enabling me to run complete experiments. Currently, I am in charge of 20 mice that we are using for a tumor progression exercise model. One of my big projects is comparing fat tissue between exercising and non-exercising mice with ovarian tumors.
I learned new methods and the theory behind them in my classes this year, and I have been able to use what I learned in my internship. The biggest benefit of working in the lab was the ability to repeat experiments – and to know that they contributed to important research.
While I do have a main project that I am focused on – a model for studying ovarian cancer in exercising mice – I often end up working on parts of other people’s experiments. This often means I am following a procedure starting in the middle of an experiment and not necessarily seeing the final results.
"I look forward to continuing to be able to apply what I learn in the classroom."Madeline Morrisson ’20
Doing efficient research requires being very focused and scheduling your experiments and days in order to accomplish as much as possible. I love working in an environment that requires me to organize. For example, if I have an experiment with two hours incubation time, I can plan to use that time to start another experiment, update my lab notes, or attend a lab meeting.
I believe I would want to work in a lab like this one in the future. At this point, my plan after graduation is to pursue my doctorate in a field such as pharmacology or molecular cancer biology. I look forward to continuing to be able to apply what I learn in the classroom.
The Bergami Summer Internship Program is funded through the generosity of Board of Governors member – and former Board Chair – Sam Bergami ’85 EMBA, ’02 Hon. and his wife, Lois, and the Division of Student Affairs.