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Matthew Csordas

Matthew Csordas recently completed his fourth year of Chemical and Bioengineering at McMaster. This summer, he participated in a research fellowship at Penn State in Pennsylvania.

I’m originally from Paris, Ontario, a small town about 40 minutes from Hamilton. Throughout my time at McMaster, I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of amazing work in David Latulippe’s lab, and am definitely interested in pursuing graduate school after finishing my degree. This summer I had the opportunity to go to Penn State University to conduct research in the lab of Andrew Zydney, which was made possible by a variety of people.

Last winter break, I was talking with Latulippe after an opportunity for an internship fell through due to financial restructuring on the companies end. I was rather disappointed and decided it was best to just come back to McMaster to finish my degree so I could move on and pursue graduate studies. Latulippe was very understanding and presented me with a few different ideas for what I could do with my summer. He mentioned the Mitacs Globalink Research Award and that he thought his old PhD supervisor at Penn State would be interested in taking on a student. I received the award and was also given some money set aside by the Faculty of Engineering to fund this opportunity. After sorting out the logistical side of things, I had my J1 visa and was headed to Pennsylvania by the end of May.

My experience at Penn State has been very rewarding. The research I get to do is different than anything I’ve done at McMaster, and some of the facilities I have at my disposal are full of new equipment.

My project is focused on the purification of Ca9-RNA complexes using ultrafiltration. These complexes are very important to the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing mechanism and there is currently no data in the literature on the use of ultrafiltration processes for their purification. In order to be able to complete my ultrafiltration studies, I have to produce my own protein using the CSL Behring Fermentation Facility on campus. This facility was donated by CSL Behring and is full of top of the line fermentation and chromatography equipment.

On top of the amazing research experience I’m having at Penn State, which looks great on a resume, I also have plenty of time to network with faculty and students here.

This experience has given me a sense for what life as a graduate student at Penn State and other American universities. This has given me a lot to think about with grad school applications on the horizon for me, and expanding your network is never a bad thing.

Finally, this opportunity has been a chance to meet many new friends from all over the United States. I have made a really strong group of friends here. Together, we’ve gone on weekend trips to Washington D.C., Hershey Park, hiking, to the beach, caving, and have just about packed every weekend as full as we can with activities. I know that after I return to McMaster, we’ll definitely try to stay in touch and be there for each other.

I’d recommend anyone to take advantage to pursuing this kind of opportunity if it’s available to them. It has helped open my eyes to the many opportunities there are for me in research after my undergrad and has provided me with invaluable connections moving forward. I look forward to heading back to McMaster this fall to finish my final year and see all my “home” friends again. However, this summer away has made me even more excited to move on to new things afterwards, in part made possible thanks to the strong start I’ve made for myself at McMaster.