Starting an undergraduate research project and how I plan to make the most of it.

Starting an undergraduate research project and how I plan to make the most of it.
Photo by CDC / Unsplash


Recently, I started an undergraduate research experience with Professor Joanne Blanchfield from UQ SCMB and Dr Nicole Lawrence from the Institute of Molecular Biosciences. The research project is titled "Identifying anti-burkholderia agents derived from native Australian grasses". This research project involves chemistry lab work (extracting, separating and isolating compounds) and biological lab work (in vitro screening for antibacterial effects). Therefore in order to try and make the most out of this experience, I have brainstormed Ā behaviours which I will try my best to act out. These are the behaviours in no particular order.

  • Write down every question that I have.
  • Ask every good questions that I have.
  • Brain dump everything that I learned at the end of the day in a reflection in order to consolidate what I learned and identify my gaps which I can ask the next time I am in the lab.
  • Be in control of the things I can control (e.g. getting things done, being diligent, being punctual, being active).
  • Learn to bathe in the feeling of inadequacy when I make a mistake.
  • Focus on not making the same mistake twice, rather than mistakes as a category. (There is no alternative way to improve than making mistakes).
  • If there is a spectrum from "100% Self-sufficient <-----> 100% dependent on others", then aim to be marginally towards the self-sufficient side.
  • Ask for help if it is necessary.
  • Always tell the truth where necessary.
  • Adopt a growth mindset. Accept challenge.

I will follow up on my progress with these principles at a later date šŸ«”. I hope to learn which of these behaviours should be continued and perhaps any new behaviours to consider in future opportunities.

Matt Siellet