Having been fortunate enough to be awarded the Ching grant, I was able to utilize the funds awarded to support housing during my summer in New Orleans. This opportunity to support housing allowed me to spend my summer at AxoSim Technologies and learn how a biotechnology company runs on a daily basis. My summer at AxoSim was an incredible learning experience. Not only was I able to see how a company and its lab function on an everyday basis, I also received insight into the business side of a biotech company. With most of my summer efforts focused on research on the mini-brain patent from another University, I was able to learn about the mechanism by which patents work, in terms of the specificity of claims, how claims can be invalidated by prior art, and an overall idea of how the patent process works. Working very closely with the company’s Chief Business Officer, Ben Cappiello, I was able to receive valuable advice on how to approach my research and learn about the inner workings between AxoSim and the University, in regards to working on licensing new technology as part of AxoSim’s expansion efforts.
In addition, I was introduced into the lab practices that occur within AxoSim’s labs. I learned how to properly practice aseptic technique when working within the biosafety cabinet and how to perform a biopsy. During the biopsy, I was also introduced to the proper way to utilize microscopes in the lab to verify the success of dorsal root ganglia extraction.
The culture of the work environment at AxoSim is an ideal one. Everyone was willing to help me and offer advice, whenever I had a question or struggled with an assignment. A particular aspect of the staff that I really enjoyed was that I felt like everyone was friends with one another. Between staff laser tag and a staff potluck after work, it was refreshing to see that a business consists of people who don’t just got to work during the day then go their separate ways. There was an apparent bond between the staff and I think that is something that is overlooked and important when it comes to the long-term success of any goal. I always felt very comfortable in the office and made some friends along the way
The most rewarding aspect for me was that I felt that I made a positive impact, even as an intern. My work on the patent appeared to have been extremely helpful to my superiors and I hope that my efforts will be able to influence the future success of AxoSim.
Written by Derek Spillane, Ching Grant recipient, 2018