One Day of the Life as a Researcher: undergraduate student

This summer, I had an amazing opportunity to work under the supervision of Dr. Olga Piskareva. I scheduled to join the lab for the second time, however, this plan was unfortunately cancelled to the COVID19.  I was still hopeful and later I got the opportunity to work on a remote research project. My goal was to write a comprehensive review of existing and prospective antigens for antibody specific immunotherapy for neuroblastoma.

This was my first literature review and I was excited about it. I had previously worked on a lab neuroblastoma project that’s why I was familiar with the topic. However, this was a completely new and different undertaking for me.  Before starting the project I had to understand about literature reviews are and how are they written. My project involved looking at a lots of clinical trials and PubMed articles. I had to learn about how clinical trials work and had to develop a search strategy for the project. I understood that literature reviews are a very important part of lab research and forms its backbone. 

Sanat’s review focussed on antibody-based immunotherapy in neuroblastoma, which aims to induce ‘antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity’ to kill cancer cells. Luckily, Sanat had wet lab research experience in 2019 pre-COVID where he got to present a research project at the Matrix Biology Ireland meeting.

I started writing the project and ended up writing 40 pages! I developed awesome illustrations to support my review using the software. This was one of the most enjoyable parts of the remote research! As I was writing the project I understood that ‘Neuroblastoma is a devasting disease for children and the tremendous amount of effort and knowledge is being built upon to find a better and enhanced treatment to reduce the disease burden.’ 

I learnt and gained many critical skills during this review. My review on the existing and prospective knowledge about immunotherapies will enable researchers to get a summary of knowledge that will aid in giving them direction to eventually, create effective immunotherapy to defeat neuroblastoma. 

Sanat Rashinkar, 3rd Year RCSI Undergraduate Medicine Student