Two high school students from the Youth and Science program from La Pedrera Foundation in Barcelona had the opportunity to spend 4 weeks in the laboratory with Alba Herrero to learn about bioengineering and see the daily life of a researcher.
Alba Herrero, BLOC researcher at the Molecular Imaging for Precision Medicine group led by Irene Marco at Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) in Barcelona, hosted Clàudia Marí Dolcet and Milos Dragan Ivancic Santana, two 15–16-year-old students who spent in total four weeks in the laboratory (from the 26th of June to the 21st of July). They could experience what it is like to be a researcher and participate in the daily life of the research group while carrying out a small scientific project.
Claudia developed the project “Study of the effect of shear stress on 3D cell models after continuous flow in an Organ-on-a-Chip (OOC)”, where she could study the effect of shear stress on 3D cell models in OOC platforms and analyse the consequences on cell viability, function, and 3D cell model integrity experimentally. In the case of Milos, the project was entitled: “Development of a microfluidic platform for the study of 3D cell models”, Claudia’s and Milos’s projects respectively, and it allowed him to design a microfluidic platform for study of the cell behaviour in flow conditions, and design the 2D and 3D platform, fabricate it in cleanroom facilities and validate the system experimentally.
Apart from the hands-on tasks, the students also gained knowledge about the structure of a scientific paper and practiced their ability to present and discuss research data and findings with colleagues, as they participated in the laboratory meetings. This proved to be an invaluable experience for Claudia and Milos, as it broadened their perspective on scientific research and encouraged their critical thinking skills. Engaging in such activities is highly beneficial for stimulate scientific vocations.