My name is Ilian Torres. I am currently an undergraduate student in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. This summer I had the honor of working at the Genomics Institute at the University of California Santa Cruz, thanks to the IDI-BD2K (Increasing Diversity in Interdisciplinary Big Data to Knowledge) program of the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras funded by the NIH (National Institutes of Health.)
My summer consisted of workshops, recreational activities and working in the laboratory ( https://bd2ksummer.ucsc.edu ). We did numerous workshops such as Ethics workshops, Data Carpentry workshops, a Genomic Browser workshop, and workshops for applying to great opportunities like research symposiums and graduate school fellowships such as SACNAS and the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. For recreational activities, we did many things from sporty-like soccer games and hiking to bonfires on the beach and small gatherings. I had the honor of working with three incredible mentors: Melissa Cline, Jeltja van Baron, and Holly Beale. My research consisted of quality control, analysis and raw genome sequencing to locate samples of questionable quality within a batch. The importance of this research is that in the near future we want to have databases of cancer-related genomes from various patients and their treatments and medication to do cross-examination with other patients. An example of this being that if patient A has a lung cancer with a genome sequence that is similar to patient B then the treatment that was used to cure patient A can be applied to patient B. The problem with this approach is that if the database has bad sequence data, erroneous solutions may be applied to a particular patient..
At the end of the program, I participated in the summer poster symposium at the University of California in Santa Cruz. This summer I had a very wonderful and unique experience and made friends not only with my comrades in the BD2K program, but also with my mentors. I learned what life as a grad student is all about. I also learned of all the great opportunities that research and graduate education provides. I recommend that every student should go through this experience at this or any internship at least once in their undergraduate career.