I have spent the previous eight weeks of my final summer as an undergraduate student working with Kevin Meyer ’06 at Perfinity Biosciences alongside Connor Smith ’18. This company consisting of 4 employees has given us a great concept of what it is like to work for a small company and to run a business. At Perfinity, I have been working in the Research and Development department helping to develop new sample processing technologies for the diagnostics of proteins in a mass spectrometer which has become a pressing issue in the field given the rapid growth of mass spectrometry technologies in the past decade. The growth of this technology has outpaced the growth of sampling protocol technologies for this instrumentation. Due to the issue presented, Perfinity Biosciences has found its niche. Perfinity currently has a line of immobilized enzyme products that permit the scientist to prepare samples that initially took days to complete in just hours. This is significant in that the ability to assess proteins through mass spectrometry allows researchers to understand better proteins and disease. Connor and I have been working on a product that will optimize this process even further. However, we are in the process of submitting our findings as a provisional patent so I am unable to discuss specifics.
This internship could not have come to me at a better time. I have pulled knowledge from every chemistry course I have taken at Wabash and applied it to the job. We work heavily in proteomics that Biochemistry has prepared me well for. We use advanced instrumentation such as a liquid chromatography coupled with an ion trap MS-MS that Dr. Dallinger would have loved to have at Wabash but even with the lack of one present he taught me much about the differing instrumentations in the field as well as the importance of sample preparation. We use organic chemistry to modify and alter a variety of nitrogen groups. The whole internship has brought together every facet of chemistry I have learned and done so in a very interesting way.
Not only has this internship been academically thought provoking, but it will be very beneficial for my career as I move on from Wabash. As I stated earlier, we are currently working on a provisional patent for the work that we have been doing over the course of the internship. This means that I will have my name on an actual patent for intellectual property that is relevant in the currently booming field of biotechnology. This will be something that I can put on a resume that employers or graduate school admissions offices will look at when considering applicants and it will help me stand out in a strong pool of undergraduate candidates for a position. This patent directly pertains to a field that I would like to one day be a part of and having already done established work before graduating college greatly helps me to achieve this goal. This has all been possible through the Lilly Endowment Fund without which I would be unable to have this amazing opportunity. Lilly has helped me better myself and has given me the means to achieve my goals, and I would like to thank those in charge of the fund for that. I hope that this program continues to help undergraduates by presenting them with opportunities such as the one I have.