Name: Gaoan Sheng
Class Year: 2021
Hometown: Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
Internship Organization: Center for Dental Research, Loma Linda University School of Dentistry
Job Title: Research Intern
Location: Loma Linda, Calif.
What’s happening at your internship?
I am working in the Center for Dental Research in Loma Linda University. I have been involved in ongoing research and daily tests relevant to infection control in the dental health care unit.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I am considering the field of dentistry after college, so I am actively exploring different areas in this field. Loma Linda University has been working closely with many hospitals affiliated with Zhejiang University, where my parents work. I had heard about dental research that was going on in their laboratory, which bore significant health importance. After my microbiology class, I was aware of the frequent biofilm formation in dental settings. As a chemistry major, I was curious about chemical ways of removing microorganisms, so I applied for this internship.
Was this internship what you expected it to be?
I have been looking forward to living in different cities. I moved to California this summer. To be specific, I lived in Loma Linda for a month. It is a rather small city located in southwestern San Bernardino County. Loma Linda in Spanish means beautiful hills, and the city is exactly as it sounds. I lived with one of the visiting scholars from China. She has been there for one year, and she not only taught me research but also brought me to many places around there. Because of her, I had a great time.
Loma Linda University has been working closely with hospitals affiliated to Zhejiang University, where my parents work. I had also attended several academic workshops in China given by doctors from Loma Linda University, which made me want to be there and explore more.
Even though I have heard about infection control, and I have seen some efforts in clinic, I was not aware of the waterline tests that were performed to check water quality or spore tests to check sterilization until I actually saw them.
There were also some pilot studies to test antimicrobial effects of new dental materials. I was learning new research methods, which will be helpful to me in learning chemistry. In general, it was a great opportunity for me to be in the Center for Dental Research in Loma Linda University.