Southeast Missouri State University senior Breiona Catching of St. Louis, Missouri, is getting a jumpstart on her future this summer, learning new laboratory techniques and conducting cardiovascular research at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Catching, a double major in microbiology and medical laboratory sciences, began her internship with the Medical University of South Carolina Summer Undergraduate Research Program May 30.
“I wanted to do this undergraduate research program because I wanted to be better prepared for graduate school, and increase my chances of getting into a great graduate program,” said Catching. “My entire life will be geared towards research, so if I learn techniques now, they will be beneficial in my future.”
She expects to graduate from Southeast in May 2019 and is looking towards doing graduate work at the University of Maryland or the University of Alabama-Birmingham because of their excellent pathology assistant programs. She plans on applying during her clinical year of school in summer 2018.
Some of the new laboratory techniques she is learning include immunohistochemistry, Western Blot, mounting, embedding, and sectioning samples to perform histology.
Catching is conducting her research with Dr. Chip Norris, assistant professor at the Medical University of South Carolina.
“Our focus in mainly on the left atrium of the heart, and diseases such as bicuspid calcification and mitro valve prolapse,” she said. “A typical day, thus far, involves going to classes to help us become better researchers from 8:30 a.m. to 10:20 a.m. Afterwards we are to conduct research which ends around 4 or 4:30 p.m.”
“I am enjoying the team that I work with as they are extremely talented and brilliant,” she said. “I am also loving that I actually get to perform tasks on a huge project.”
Ultimately, she says, “I want to be a better and more confident researcher and scientist at the end of this experience.”
Before heading to the Medical University of South Carolina, Catching had the opportunity to study in Germany and France in May with Southeast’s short-term study abroad program through the College of Science, Technology and Agriculture. The transcultural trip focused on learning about the scientific contributions of other countries.
She traveled to the cities of Berlin, Munich and Paris, visiting corporate sites and national landmarks, including the German Historical Museum, the Berlin Wall, the Television Tower, the Brandenburg Gate, Potsdam, Checkpoint Charlie, the Topography of Terror Museum, German Museum of Technology, the Humboldt-Museum and the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden in Berlin, Germany; the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, Marienplatz, the Latin Quarter, Notre Dame Cathedral and St. James Cathedral in Munich, Germany; and the Eiffel Tower, the Curie Museum, Du Louvre, the Museum of Arts and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
“My favorite part about the trip was actually being in another country and learning about their culture and history,” she said.