Over the summer of 2015, I was lucky enough to be chosen as a research intern at Genzyme, a pharmaceutical company recently acquired by a larger company (Sanofi). Sanofi has many different locations including Toronto, Pennsylvania and even in France and Switzerland. I was lucky enough to work in Framingham, MA in the research and development branch. Specifically, I worked in the gene therapy group.
I worked from June 1st through August 14th. While this does not seem like a long time, it gave me ample opportunity to work with another employee on her project. Together, she and I looked into the viability of a genetic therapy for the progression of osteoarthritis. The gene therapy group of Genzyme is primarily interested in the use of AAV (Adeno-Associated Virus). This virus has the ability to implant DNA sequences into its host’s genome. These DNA sequences can be engineered to express specific proteins within the host. We worked with a protein found in human joints. During my time as an intern, I assisted with engineering a desired plasmid, transfecting human cells with the correct plasmid, and analyzing the expression levels of the desired protein.
I enjoyed working in this lab because it allowed me to learn how an established biotech laboratory is operated and the effort that goes into pharmaceuticals.