Ariel Maroney
Year: 2022
Faculty Advisor: Lukas Mueller
Mentor: Alex Ogbonna


My Experience:

Spending my summer at the Boyce Thompson Institute taught me so much about agricultural biotechnology. I was assigned to the Mueller lab under Alex Ogbonna, from whom I learned about bioinformatics and the steps of processing big data in the field of biology.  Specifically, we considered and began charting the historical origins and spread of the cassava plant through Brazil. I also spent time in other labs, in order to get a rounded experience.  One of my favorites was harvesting tomato seeds in the Giovannoni lab, where I participated in processes like measuring brix values and performing gel electrophoresis.  Another favorite was dissecting parasite-infected bees in the Dyce/McArt lab, in order to harvest the parasites to further ongoing studies of how to protect pollinators. It was truly incredible to get hands-on experiences in all these different labs, as it gave me a broad feel for what a future in the field would be like. My biggest takeaway from my internship is how much work goes into even the smallest scientific advancement. It takes a lot of people and resources to continue progress towards any new discovery, and every bit of research is dependent on generations of people who have dedicated their lives to further understanding and modifying our world. As I go on into college, the valuable experiences I had at BTI will certainly inform and advance my work as I pursue a biology-related degree.