"Being able to work in my research lab full time this summer has been a very valuable experience. Thanks to the MRADS Summer Research Scholarship, I was able to continue my research in determining a method to re-differentiate renal proximal tubular epithelial cells in an attempt to find an alternative to kidney transplantation and dialysis.

This summer hasn’t been without some trials. The most important life skill that I’ve learned is how to handle making a mistake or an unexpected problem that may arise. Although my first instinct is to usually stop what I’m doing and find someone else to tell me what to do, there isn’t always someone around to ask for help. I’ve learned to problem solve on my own by taking a step back from the situation and putting myself in my mentor’s shoes. What would he do? What would he expect me to do? What should I do?

One of the most memorable moments of this summer was when I shadowed my research mentor at the University of Michigan Hospital. I got to see first hand the patients that our research directly affected. These were people who either had renal failure or a condition that caused their kidney to temporarily stop functioning normally and needed dialysis in order to continue living their life. If we can come up with a solution where their failing kidneys can heal themselves, we have the potential to change so many lives. This experience really strengthened my understanding of the importance of research in general - not just the research that I participate in. Research, however abstract and intangible it seems, really does has the potential to change lives. Many students think of undergraduate research as a means to an end -- whether that be medical school, graduate school, or otherwise -- but, it’s important to keep in mind the real world implications for what one is researching.

This summer experience has helped me realize that research is something that is very interesting to me. I have learned many new lab skills and life skills, and I hope to continue participating in research in the future."

-Likitiha Nimmagadda, MRADS Alumni Scholarship Recipient