This summer NC State students will embark on a number of exciting opportunities and experiences. One such student is Nithin Gupta, a rising senior from Cary, NC.
Gupta is majoring in Genetics with a minor in Biotechnology. He is interested in studying translational medicine and hopes to be able to pursue graduate research or a medical degree after graduation. For now, Gupta’s summer plans include participating in an undergraduate research experience with the Comparative Medicine Institute (CMI), a team of multidisciplinary researchers focused on translating basic research and scientific discovery into clinical/societal applications to improve the health of humans and animals.
This past spring, Gupta submitted his first research proposal and received funding through the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). Associate Director of the OUR, Annie Carlson Welch, notes “he submitted one of the strongest proposals,” which Gupta explains focused on organoids, a miniaturized and simplified version of an organ, which can be used to provide a more accurate understanding of how medicines affect patients and potentially help reduce side-effects of treatments.
Gupta mentioned he had previously worked with the CMI lab on another project and appreciates the mentorship his fellow researchers have provided noting, “they teach you more than just research. They teach you small things you don’t really think about, like applying for grants and how to think through problems.” In fact, it was one of Gupta’s mentors who suggested he get hands-on experience in writing research proposals, which was the precipice for his OUR proposal. Reflecting on his experience Gupta mentioned it was a long process of writing, revising, and working with his mentors to develop his proposal. He explains one of the more difficult aspects of developing his proposal was translating his work into approachable terms for a wide audience. “You don’t want to give too much detail, but you want to make sure to give enough so that someone without a scientific background can still understand.”
For other students interested in pursuing undergraduate research on campus Gupta suggests finding a project which interests you. He explains, “when I’m working on something I’m interested in, I care a lot about it and am excited to put in hard work.” Gupta notes he had participated in several research projects prior to this summer and advises students to not get discouraged by a negative experience or two. “There is a lot of exciting research being done all around campus and a lot of amazing opportunities.” He further notes that he has been able to apply a number of lessons from previous research experience to his current endeavor. “The Ph.D. student I worked with on my previous project really helped me with critical thinking and troubleshooting. The skills I gained from that experience have really helped me while working on this project.”
We will be checking in with Gupta throughout the summer to follow up on his undergraduate research experience. Make sure to follow along for updates and information about Gupta and the exciting opportunities from the Office of Undergraduate Research.
Photo credit: Brantley Atkinson, Associate Director Communications & Marketing, Enrollment Management & Services