Grace O'Malley's first days in her new lab were a challenge, but she quickly overcame her obstacles to fall in love with Mexico
Biology major Grace O’Malley conducts cancer research for the Mexican government’s Institute of Social Security

Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS)

Grace worked for the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), in the research department of the oncology hospital at Siglo XXI.  For eight weeks she worked in the hospital’s Genomic Oncology lab, under the direction of Dr. Mauricio Salcedo.

The mission of IMMS is to be the basic instrument of social security in Mexico, as a public service with national character, for all workers and their families. Augmented coverage of the population is pursued as a constitutional necessity, from a social perspective.

Dr. Salcedo’s research focuses on genetic factors that are suspected to play a role in the development of cervical cancer.  Grace’s project examined bacteriophages that were found in cervical flora samples of patients from the United States and Turkey.  With her lab partners, she carried out PCR reactions using cervical samples from Mexican women attempting to determine if the bacteriophages were also present in the Mexican population.

Grace’s MISTI internship is one of the most valuable experiences of her life. This is not to say that it was always easy. She confronted many challenges at the beginning of her trip (the language and some illnesses). Grace had never before been immersed in a foreign language culture, and understanding everything her colleagues said was difficult. It was especially difficult to understand all of the scientific terminology in the lab.  However, by the end of the internship, understanding was no longer a problem, and Grace’s ability to express herself was also greatly improved!

  • Mexico
  • Internship
  • Bio/Chem