My internship experience, by Clément Train

• Author: Clément Train •

Note: Inspired by the blog of Marcel Salathé’s group at Penn State, I have asked our recent interns to provide a brief account of their experience in the lab. They are posted in this new series “Life in the Lab”, unedited —Christophe


Please introduce yourself in a few sentences

I’m Clement Train and I’am a French student in bioinformatician at the University of Bordeaux. I studied biology but at some point I decided to learn computer science to try to solve biological problems. I’m passionate about evolution, genetics and all the fields that help to understand how life is created, regulated or can adapt to different environment.

Why did you choose to join the lab?

I was looking for an internship in bioinformatics for my 2014 summer. When I discovered the Dessimoz lab works on topic I am really interested in (molecular evolution, genetic, bioinformatics) so I decided to seize the opportunity to apply and Christophe let me join his lab as an intern.

What project did you work on (and for how long)?

I joined the team from June to August 2014. At first I worked on a web widget to visualize and select genomes in a phylogenetic tree. This project consisted in improving users’ utilization on the export function of the OMA browser for the OMA standalone. Afterward I worked on a face-lifting of the OMA browser website: we built a new structure for the website where users can easily learn what is OMA and how they can work with it. Plus we added new features like the synteny viewer.

Redesign OMA Browser

Face-lifting of the OMA browser website

What came out of it?

This internship provided me with a great working experience as a bioinformatician. I learnt how to work with lots of people on different projects and how to adapt to new situations.

Was there any highlight or low point you’d like to share?

First i want to say that the mentorship was a very good motivation for me. All the team was following my project by helping me or giving me feedbacks to improve it. I have never felt alone in front of my computer and feeling that people were interested in my work was something I really enjoyed during my internship: to work on something where people are interest of. Second, I’d say that working on something that other people can use or reuse for them own work is very rewarding. Finally, I really liked the team atmosphere, lab retreat and lunch with everyone helped me feel comfortable during my whole internship and allowed me to create strong links with others team mates.

What is your overall impression and would you do it again?

I am completely happy with this internship. I met lots of good and funny people to work with and it is very nice to feel comfortable at work and can enjoy time with the team. I worked on great project where I was able to totally express myself because Christophe and Adrian had confidence in what I can do and were always willing to improve what I was working on. Do it again? its plan to do a new internship during the summer 2015 with the Dessimoz lab for my master thesis, I am looking forward to doing this internship because I know I will work on a project that will provide me with new skills (biology, computer science or math) and that I’ll be mentored to produce something better.

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