GEMS Program (Summer 2018)

You won’t come across many labs like the Magin lab, it’s truly one of a kind!  Principles from engineering, physiology, and polymer chemistry unite in this lab to serve one purpose: Make things work. I didn’t have much research experience before coming into this lab however, after working here over a summer, I feel like I am more equipped to think critically in the world of science. I had NUMEROUS experiments that failed on the first try, and even more that failed after multiple tries, and led to me asking myself “Can I ever make this work??” It was amidst a long flow of varying successes and failures that I had truly acknowledged the two biggest concepts behind research: REPETITION and LUCK .  You will fail many times in research, needing for lots of improvements, but the Magin lab taught me to look at my failures as proving something not to work rather than as just a failed experiment. And sometimes you may just get lucky and make something work perfectly on the first try!

Every project in the Magin lab is so hands-on, I loved seeing my work come to life in processes such as 3-D printing.  As the lab works a lot with hydrogel applications, it was very cool to see the progression from my first hydrogel creation to when I applied it to an actual lung tissue sample! Everyone in this lab is so knowledgeable, it’s honestly impossible not to learn something extraordinary after each day!  The Magin lab provided amazing mentorship throughout my project and along the way gave me some expert advice for writing a research paper and giving a presentation, which by the way are VERY IMPORTANT skills to have in research.  This place pretty much became a 2ndhome to me after just a week and I really wish I could’ve stayed longer. The Magin lab has opened my eyes towards medical research, and I truly enjoyed every moment working alongside everyone in it!

If you have any questions for me feel free to shoot me an email at

Dinesh Velu

University of Tennessee Knoxville

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