BioTrain interns gain valuable career experiences

This summer marks the tenth year of the BioTrain Internship Program, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology’s summer training program for college and graduate students. For some students, the experience has been transformative, setting them on new career paths.

One of those students was Christy Pickering. In 2012, Christy interned with Serina Therapeutics through the BioTrain program. She worked that summer studying the chemical properties of polymers that are used in their drug formulas.

The following summer, in 2013, Christy returned again, this time working in Dr. Sara Cooper’s research lab at HudsonAlpha. She studied diamond-blackfan anemia, a bone marrow disorder.

“Now I find it remarkable how much I was able to accomplish over the course of the summer,” said Pickering. “I learned so much about how research is actually conducted, and I got experience working on a project and dealing with all of the challenges that come when you’re working in a lab.”

She also learned more about herself. When Christy entered the BioTrain program, she was majoring in chemical engineering at Auburn University. She didn’t have any prior lab experience and, at that point, had only taken the introductory chemistry and physics classes. She also had not taken any biology classes since high school. With the experience and exposure she gained at HudsonAlpha, Christy is now enrolled in the MD/PhD program at Johns Hopkins University. Her long-term goal is to practice as an oncologist and run a research lab.

Biotrain accepts 25 to 30 interns each summer. Interns work 20 to 30 hours per week, depending upon the position. They are paid a stipend and participate in professional development sessions each week of the program. For the culmination of the internship program, students create and present posters that explain the work they accomplished during their internship at the Institute.

“Through BioTrain, students have the opportunity to connect classwork with real‐world job experience and gain skills and knowledge that will prepare them for careers in biotechnology and related fields,”said Michele Morris, workforce development lead for educational outreach at HudsonAlpha. “The experience they gain during BioTrain could be the launchpad for their career.”

The paid internship is available to undergraduate through master’s level graduate students, providing a variety of diverse experiences that range from in‐depth laboratory research to biotechnology marketing, communications and business strategy. Internships are offered through HudsonAlpha’s nonprofit research labs; educational outreach, economic development and communications departments; as well as many of the associate companies on the campus.

The 2018 BioTrain Internship Program will run from May 29 – July 27, 2018. For more information or to apply for the 2018 program, visit