Sipping on English tea while studying genes


Sipping on English tea while studying genes

Meghan Jewett achieved something that many students wish to do in their lives – get many jobs offers in a single go. This Northeastern University biology major completed her co-op at the Harvard Medical School Center for Genetics and Genomics and was about to apply for a position at the University of Cambridge in England. The fascinating thing is, not just one, but she got five offers.


What she did was applying to a handful of university’s laboratories, of which five which accepted her applications were for paid positions. Jewett made the decision of going with the Cambridge University’s genetics department, where she spent half a year drenching herself in the British culture. She studied how fruit flies can be vulnerable to viruses, digging deep into their genetics. Her fascination with genes prospered at the university, leading her to work and then assist doctors and lab technicians.


“I was there when a patient had the inside of his mouth swabbed for genetic testing that could predict his genetic disposition toward a particular disease,” she said. “It is just amazing how far science has come—that from one mouth swab a patient can learn whether they’re predisposed to Alzheimer’s or heart disease.”I think it’s amazing to work on such ground-breaking discoveries, as it will surely help to save a person, maybe more than one at a time.


Jewett’s interest in genetics can also be traced back to her own genes, as her father is a physician, while her brother has taken admission in medical school. However, the biggest push she got to pursue this was from Northeastern’s experiential opportunities. She says, “If it weren’t for co-op, I’d probably be a bit clueless as to what I wanted to do. The co-op in England was a natural progression from Harvard, and to study in the same labs as the discoverers of the DNA helix was both appropriate and academically challenging.”


Jewett thoroughly enjoyed her time at the University of Cambridge, her favourite things being women’s rugby, tea and – unsurprisingly – English slang. But more importantly, she was absolutely in awe with the whole experience. “The whole experience, to be where Darwin and Newton were, was like a dream come true,” she stated. “And, since it was Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday while I was there, we had parties to celebrate the great man. I was always in such good company.”


Pranjali Wakde

pranjali wakde

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