A Postcard From: Pía López ’18

Name: Pía López
Class Year: 2018
Major: Chemistry
Hometown: Mexico City

Internship Placement: Malachowski Lab
Job Title: Research intern
Location: Bryn Mawr College

What’s happening at your internship?

I’m working on the development of molecules that will potentially inhibit an enzyme called indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, which, when overexpressed by the body, may inhibit the immune system’s response to diseases such as cancer. My research will build upon work previously done in the Malachowski group, specifically the synthesis of O-alkylhydroxylamines. Once synthesized, these molecules will be tested on an isolated enzyme at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and then on a cellular system at Lankenau Institute of Medical Research.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I was excited to explore scientific research and the independence that it entails, as well as developing my skills as a scientist, academic, and professional.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?

The biggest challenge for me has been having to deal with how frustrating research inherently is. I have had to learn to be more patient and perseverant, as research is very rewarding if one is able to stick with it. Another very difficult challenge I have faced is to learn to trust myself and my abilities. I’ve often questioned and doubted my own skills when, for example, a reaction didn’t go as planned, to later find out that it wasn’t merely my fault, it was just a particularly difficult experiment. I’ve learned to be more confident in my skills and to trust myself more.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

Knowing that the success of my experiments is at least partly due to my skills and work after having to work out the kinks in each reaction and experiment!