Harvard students spend their summer break at a KI-lab

A long summer break could sometimes feel a bit tedious. That’s at least what Harvard students Gloria Chen and Yamen Abbas thought, so they applied for a two month summer research period at Karolinska Institutet.

It is their first visit to Sweden. The Harvard students Gloria Chen (20 years old) and Yamen Abbas (22) are doing lab work at KI this summerGloria Chen and Yamen Abbas, bachelor’s students at Harvard College, saw a picture of Stockholm and were hooked ever since. Now they have been here for three weeks and the highlights have been celebrating midsummer, visiting the archipelago and attending a stem cell conference. This is the second year students from Harvard have come to spend their summer at a KI-lab. Meanwhile, two Master's students from KI is spending their summer at Harvard.

“It is a wonderful experience and very relevant for my future studies. By picking another country I could both travel and do something related to my education and Sweden was at the top of my list” says Gloria Chen, who does her summer research at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics (MBB).

The exchange was initiated by Professor Kenneth Chien at Karolinska Institutet and arranged in collaboration with the student’s department at Harvard and therefore fit their education well.

“I have heard of Karolinska Institutet before and we discussed some stem cell research going on here in class,” says Yamen Abbas, who does his summer research at the Department of  Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB).                      

Gloria Chen och Yamen Abbas i labbet.The lab work at KI differs a bit from the work at Harvard and they both agree that it is less stressful here.

“I worked in the U.S. last summer where I was a part of a huge lab with over 100 people. This made it harder to interact and I think smaller labs with smaller groups make up a better environment for students,” says Yamen Abbas.

They don’t know why they were chosen, but they have a theory.
“We discussed what was in our applications that stood out and made them pick us and we realized that we both had written that we like the books by Stieg Larsson,” says Gloria Chen.

By: Frida Wennerholm
Photo: Stefan Zimmerman