Journey to the Labs

Prerak Thakkar, Staff Writer

He places a sample under  a device called the ZOE Fluorescence Imager, an automatic electronic microscope. On its screen, the marked cells show up in, surrounded by green light. Using his fingers, he zooms in on a part of the sample.

John Krause-Steinrauf is a senior in the Biotechnology Lab, performing research on cancer cells to help with treatment.

“My project is on cancer cells, specifically on a type of cell known as the cancer stem cell that is responsible for current treatments, and also metastasis,” Steinrauf said.

John’s journey to the Biotech Lab, and his project, started about four years ago – when he was making his course selections for his sophomore year.

“I didn’t take summer chem so I could only do either AP CS or AP Bio.because I’m taking Spanish,” Steinrauf said. “my mom works in medicine, so I was more inclined towards biology as opposed to a CS lab.”       

When he went to visit labs in his sophomore year, he visited the Neuroscience and Chem Analysis labs in addition to the Biotechnology lab.

“I feel like I’ve always known I wanted to do biology lab, but I do feel like after the lab visits I think I realized I really wanted to go into the biotech lab as opposed to the Neuro lab or the Chem Anal[ysis] lab,” Steinrauf said.

Many other students seem to switch around their choices – as they take different classes, they start to realize that their interests are very different from what they had originally thought. An example of this is sophomore Kushal Kanodia.

“As of right now, I believe that I will go into the Mobile [and Web] lab, or, if not, I will go into the [Computer] Sys[tems] lab, Kanodia said. “At first, I was thinking of going into the Neuro lab, but over time I realized that I would fit better in the mobile lab or sys lab.”

Steinrauf, on the other hand, stayed relatively constant in what he wanted to do.

This year, Steinrauf is taking AP Computer Science, which he had not taken before as he was taking primarily biology oriented courses. He thinks it is a possibility that if he had taken Compute Science earlier, he may have gone into a computer science oriented lab. However, he still thinks he would’ve focused on his interest in biology.   

“I also feel like I would’ve wanted to include some biology aspect,” Steinrauf said. “I feel like ultimately CS is just a powerful tool for doing analysis in biology for example, I think that’s one reason why I’m so interested in it.”