Summer classes are now in full gear! I am taking the Biomedical Lab. It is a 6-week course that teaches the medical diagnostics utilized to analyze a huge range of processes within the human body — from analyzing DNA mutations to checking blood pressure. There are 3 units in this class: biometrics, immunology, and molecular biology. This class teaches the concepts of diagnostics from each of these units and then gives hands-on experience with them. Last week each student had the opportunity to practice IV insertions on a fake arm!
Currently, we have completed the biometrics unit and started on the immunology portion. For the biometrics unit, we met in the DIS student building and practiced with tools that measured biological responses to certain stimuli. We practiced with tools such as eye tracking and EKG by designing experiments to use on each other. For example, one group showed pictures of spiders and then studied each person’s biological reaction when shown each picture. Our classes have now moved to the Karolinska Institutet, one of the most respected medical schools in the world! Here, we have been in a lab, learning immunology techniques. We have been working to replicate and analyze DNA with a mutation that causes tumors.
Our instructors, Paulina and Chenhong, have been outstanding. In addition to being super smart and educated, they are friendly and enthusiastic about the material. They tell us lots of stories and advice from their own experiences and are fun to talk with. They have made the class relatively low-pressure and have encouraged questions and discussion, making the class special. They understand that while we are here primarily for academics, we also want to explore the endless amount of activities available in Stockholm, and often give us recommendations on what to check out.
The facilities and tools we use in the DIS building and the Karolinska Institutet have also been great. You feel like a valued and respected peer of the instructors because you get to practice with everything that is at your disposal. I was nervous to study abroad and was worried that I would be stressed out in this class, but the instructors have made me feel confident and inspired.
When I was looking at different study abroad programs, the biomedical lab sounded fascinating because I have never taken a class that focuses on hands-on clinical applications. I am an undergraduate biochemistry major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and I plan to go to medical school after graduation. I chose this course to gain experiences that will support my career as a physician and because it aligns perfectly with my personal interests in these topics. This class worked out great because my university gives me equivalent course credits so that I still progress on my degree while getting the amazing experience of studying abroad!
To wrap up on a different note, the Karolinska Institutet has an awesome cafeteria! We get a lunch break each day during lab, and my classmates and I have been eating here most days. I am excited to keep working at the Karolinska Institute and get more lab experience!