Allow us to introduce Matthias Richter, a student from Germany who is currently working in the Michaelson Lab through the RISE program! We had just a few questions for Matthias about his time in Iowa...
1. Tell us about the RISE program.
"I am here with the RISE Worldwide program offered by the German Academic Exchange Service. RISE stands for “Research Internships in Science and Engineering” and is directed towards undergraduates from Germany who want to do research abroad. It includes a full scholarship which enabled me to come here. RISE also offers the inverse for international students: Coming to Germany for a internship or study experience. So if you want to live in Germany for a few months (which I can highly recommend) and be subsidized by the government check out their website and apply."
2. What is your area of study back in Germany, and what research projects are you working on in the Michaelson lab?
"I study Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrueck in Germany. It’s an interdisciplinary program aimed at understanding how thinking works. I was excited to get the chance to explore an additional domain not covered in my studies and that I had very little expertise in before: Genetics. During my time here I dove into the topic of repeating regions in the genome, which are the underlying cause of diseases like Huntington's disease. I use computational methods to search for patterns in the genome that explain why those regions differ in every human and what might cause them to become damaging."
3. Do you think your research experience in the Michaelson lab will influence your future research, education, or development as a scientist?
"Definitely! My experience changed my perception of what its like to work in a computational research lab immensely. After spending 3 wonderful months here and getting to experience the amazing research atmosphere in the lab, I can certainly imagine pursuing an academic career in a related area."
4. I heard that you visited the Iowa State Fair this summer. What was your favorite food item? Were there any culinary delicacies you might bring back to Germany with you?
"Yes, the state fair was a really cool experience for me. I think my favourite food item was the Peppermint Bar: A huge chunk of delicious peppermint ice cream coated with crunched Oreo cookies. I have never tried peppermint ice cream before and I don’t think we have that in Germany, so maybe I can try to do a DIY version of the peppermint bar and spread some culinary culture back home."