Summer Community of Scholars

Who's improving human health?


Having a fervent interest in Biology and Biochemistry and a desire to pursue medicine in my post-graduate studies, I thought it would be a great idea to start developing additional lab techniques and practices as an undergraduate. Accordingly, I forwarded my resume to Dr. Lyerla asking him for a position as an intern for the Summer of 2008 in his Biology Lab at Clark. He asked me to come down to his office and speak with him, and he immediately offered me support on his NIH AREA Grant. It was that simple! And since then I have been working in his lab for one year as a Directed Study student for the last two semesters and I just love it. I will continue to do so till I graduate as it is a wonderful experience and the people I work with are simply amazing. I never thought I would enjoy doing this biomedical research as much I do now. Honestly, the lab is practically my second home and I love spending my time there!

In the Lab

Cell culture—My research started out by my working with the amphibian cell line ICR2A for learning cell culture techniques such as passaging and cloning of the fibroblastic and epithelial frog embryonic cells. Then, I went on to preparing and staining metaphase spreads (chromosome slides) for the R.pipiens cells to determine their haploid-to-diploid ratio, and also for human cancer cell lines. I carried out electrophoresis by running the DNA extracts for the human cancer cell lines. Next, I cultured BSC-1 African Green Monkey Cells to infect and obtain fresh SV40 (Simian virus 40).

Mouse research--Subsequently, I moved on to working with the double mutant (HPS), beige (CHS) and Agouti mice alveolar macrophage cell lines. I currently perform medical surgery on the mice to obtain bronchial alveolar lavage samples and to extract their lungs for histological processing. I embed the lungs in paraplast and finally section and stain (Hematoxylin and Eosin staining; Masson Trichrome staining) the paraffin-embedded lungs to examine for any presence of fibrosis (immunohistochemistry). Presently, I am working on staining particularly the Surfactant C complex secreted by the Alveolar Type II (AT II) cells of the lungs from the affected mice.

I have worked on these projects with Tim Hanley and Chris Auger with a lot of guidance from Dr. Lyerla, of course. I also show my gratitude towards Tadd from Nuclea Biomarkers who has assisted me several times when I messed up my work or whenever I needed to use his lab for my research

Outside the Lab

I worked at the Traina Center of Arts for two years as a Teacher's Assistant doing scanning and other computer-related work for Art History Professors, which really helped me develop my computer skills. I have been a part of Clark's Premedical Society since my first year at Clark. I am a Certified First Responder of Clark's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for more than a year now. This gave me a good exposure to what emergency medicine is all about. I have attended the NCEMSF (National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation) 2009 Conference at Washington, DC and learned new medical procedures. I have been a contributing member to the Residence Hall Association, having held positions such as the President, Administrator and the Director of Administration of the RHA E-board since my first year and I attended the NEACURH (North East Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls) Regional Conference 2007 at Ithaca College, NY and also the NEACURH Mini-No Frills Conference 2008 at SUNY Geneseo, NY. These conferences helped me build leadership qualities and bring back lots of novel ideas to Clark to improve residential life.

I like to involve myself into many cultural groups at Clark, such as the South-Asian Students Association (SASA), Muslim Cultural Society (MCS), Asian Cultural Society (ACS) and the International Students Association (ISA). I have been a member of all of these since my first year. I have also joined the organization Survival International at Clark as their Secretary last year. I also took part in Clark Idol in 2007 and got voted by the students to the Top 8 position to perform live on the final day.


Research Assistant, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Grant, Summer 2008 and 2009.

Papiya at the 2008 NEACURH Conference