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Are You Into Science? Watch Craig Ramirez

Are You Into Science? Watch Craig Ramirez


“Speaker 1: My name’s Craig Ramirez. I work
for Dafna Bar-Sagi here at NYU. I work in a cancer research lab, and I came here straight
from undergrad. My undergrad was at Pomona College in southern California, and prior
to that I was born and raised in New Jersey. I was really interested in science when I
was younger, probably starting first grade. I remember we used to have to fill out notebooks
and do our experiments, it was really hands on and I thought it was cool. And then luckily,
in high school, I went to a small private school in New Jersey and I was able to be
one of the first participants in a research course. You don’t really see that anywhere
else, but I was able to do hands on original research in high school. I can sum it down to pretty much trying to
starve cancer cells. Trying to put cancer on a diet, essentially. Cancer cells have.
or we’ve seen that cancer cells have, an altered metabolism. With this altered metabolism,
a lot of times they will sort of act like a parasite to the host, the host being the
human, the patient. So what we’re trying to do is understand how the metabolism of these
cancer cells is altered during this tumorigenesis, this tumor burden. And then by learning about
how this cancer’s acting, how it’s metabolism has changed, we can potentially directly target
the cancer cells to starve them. Right now I’m working mostly with human cancer cell
lines. So for that, if I have experiments that are planned throughout the day sometimes
I’ll have to get in here early. I was here at 8 AM starting an experiment. Usually you’ll
arrive in the morning, do some cell culture work, so you’re basically maintaining these
cancer cells. One thing I can say is with schedule, it’s not really your schedule, is
the schedule of the cells that you’re using. You have to revolve your schedule around their
schedule. Is that liquid in the lab? Speaker 2: Yes. It is. We try to keep things lively in the lab. It’s
the way most labs are spread out, so it’s very easy to collaborate to talk with your
colleagues, you peers, bounce ideas off them analyze results with them as well. Or you
might be working on the same experiment, you might be side by side the whole day. It’s
very, in this kind of environment, it’s very friendly. Fast paced, but friendly. So for
you, if when you think of Ph.D programs, you think academia, so maybe it would be important
for people to know that the academic route isn’t the only route that people take. I have
friends who go in to consulting, who become writers, who are financial advisers in the
biotech industry. Those careers, it’s really about the scientific training and the scientific
method and the way of thinking. You’re trained to think a certain way and that’s what the
Ph.D program does for a lot of people who don’t want to stay in academia. For anyone
who is thinking about going in to science or doing a research, if they’re unsure, if
they’re a little hesitant, I would recommend that no matter what age they are, what grade,
they should try to look for opportunities. Whether it be a month, a summer, an internship,
or a summer program, a summer enrichment program. Get that exposure. Not only will it tell you
whether you like that field or whether you like science, but it can also be a great thing
to have, an experience to have when you’re applying later on for research positions or
graduate school. Speaker 3: It’s never to early to start. Speaker 1: It’s never too early.”


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