Name: Julia Bittencourt
Organization: University of Florida
Position Title: Undergraduate Researcher
I am a senior at the University of Florida. I learned about the BACE credential through the Biotechnology Academy at Spanish River High School, and earned the credential in my senior year of high school. I have now been working in a developmental biology lab at UF since my freshman year of college.
Earning the BACE credential gave me an advantage in my initial stages of both looking for a lab as well as working in a lab. I already had a basic understanding of many lab techniques (both how to conduct these techniques as well as what they do/why we use them), and that made me a better candidate for undergraduate research positions. I think the aspect of my academic/career path that the BACE credential most helped me with was simply learning about opportunities in the Biotech field. Before joining the Biotechnology Academy and earning the BACE credential, I hadn't heard much about biotechnology in general. Earning the BACE opened new doors in terms of the potential opportunities I was thinking about for my future. If it weren't for BACE, I don't think I would've even known that I could conduct research as a freshman undergraduate.
I am currently working on creating a developmental atlas by utilizing nanoCT data. This project involves collecting specimens, contrast-staining the specimens, CT scanning them, and virtually segmenting out the organs of these specimens. Most of my time nowadays is spent conducting virtual analysis of the specimen segmentations. I am soon going to start analyzing single-cell RNA sequencing data for another project, so my days will soon also involve analyzing RNA sequencing data through bioinformatics techniques.
The thing I like most about my job is how we're using cutting-edge techniques to provide important information for the world. I feel like I'm an integral part of my team, even as an undergraduate.