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Wittenberg continues medical research at U of M over summer

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While summer provides a much-needed break from academics, some students supplement their vacation with lab work as a way to expand and explore their scientific interests. Sophomore Kelby Wittenberg uses the summer to work at a paid internship at a University of Minnesota lab.

Wittenberg works with professors at the lab on finding a cure for a severe form of Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa, a skin condition that affects newborns.

Kelby Wittenberg
Wittenberg stands outside of building 717 on the U of M campus, where his lab is located.

The topics that Wittenberg works with are very complex.

“[The supervisor at the lab] was bringing up photos of cells that had been treated with gene editing and discussed cell count and the order of the genes and how the DNA was sequenced. Because it’s doctorate level research, most of the time I’m delving into medical stuff that I don’t really understand that well. So I have to learn as I go… They’re using terms that I have no idea what they mean, so being active about asking questions is something that I always have to do,” Wittenberg said.

Working with complicated ideas has provided Wittenberg with a valuable job experience, and his work has also allowed him to apply ideas from science class to a real-world situation. While Wittenberg has considered going into medicine, his job at the lab is really just a chance to expand his interests.

“I’ve taken concepts from the lab and been able to apply them in biology. It’s taught me how I can apply the lessons I’m learning in school to concepts outside of school,” Wittenberg said. “It’s a paid job, but I’m also getting to learn stuff while I work there. I’m essentially being paid to do what I love and look at the stuff I’m interested in and that’s probably my favorite aspect of the job,” he said. 

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The news site of St. Paul Academy and Summit School.
Wittenberg continues medical research at U of M over summer