In one of our weekly discussions in English class, my teacher
introduced the topic of Cloning, which was front page news in Iran at the time.
He demanded us to argue its moral implications and whether we think there is an
apparent ethical offense in cloning humans. That very debate, brought upon me
at the age of 12, enticed me to become a biologist. However, as I was
struggling to find my passion, to choose a subject and study it in depth and to
reach a level of expertise in it, I realized mathematics is an inseparable part
of science, as Galileo famously stated, our universe
is a “grand book” written in the language of mathematics; and in order
for me to make an actual difference in the world I need to study mathematics
along with biology.  Therefore, I applied for a major that offered life
science courses along with engineering ones: biotechnology.

Biotechnology has the potential to overcome the many challenges of
the 21st century: to cure rare
diseases, feed the hungry, use clean and renewable energy, reduce our
environmental footprint and have safer, cleaner and more efficient industrial
manufacturing processes. I believe it is the oldest of sciences
that was used by humankind, we have altered the genetics of crops for thousands
of years, by breeding them with other plants or introducing to new environment;
we have used the biological processes of
microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria, to produce food products like bread and
cheese. Yet the actual knowledge of the science is still new and
developing. In my country, the modern biotechnology has been established nearly
a century ago, with vaccine production in Pasteur institute in 1920. It became
an individual university course in 1999 at University of Tehran. Since then,
many bright minded, determined students studied in different areas of
biotechnology and due to their efforts, Iran
has made a major
breakthrough in biotechnology inasmuch as it has produced 18 kinds of recombinant
medicines and is able to produce genetically modified foods. Still, there is a long road ahead and I
intend to become a part of the future developments of biotechnology in Iran and
in the world. 

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Since two and a
half years ago, I’ve been studying biotechnology at University of Tehran, Iran.
I had the opportunity to be enrolled in a Direct PhD Program that accepted 10
applicants per year. I stand amongst the top
three scorers in our branch for two consecutive years. I’ve studied many
different subjects during this time; molecular cell biology, signaling
pathways, molecular genetics, bioinformatics, biostatistics, the human body
metabolism, Enzymology, Immunological pathways, microbial infections, and
cancer biology are the ones that I’m most enthusiastic about and I plan to
pursue my graduate education in molecular biotechnology. I have taken
laboratory courses as well, and am skilled at UV/visible, IR and fluorescence
spectroscopy, PCR, electrophoresis, purification and identification of
biomolecules, chromatography and primer designing.  

Every week,
there is a presentation held in our department. These talks provided me insight
about ongoing researches in cancer biology, cell division mechanisms, cancer
immunology and pathways through which an immune response is triggered and got
me to read about new research articles and give some presentations myself which
really helped me get a more clear view of the way a biotechnologist thinks.

I’ve also been
tutoring high school students in order to have some income during my college
years. The rewards of teaching are
numerable; it is such a challenging Job full of unexpected moments. I constantly
have to study to be able to keep up with the students asking so many questions.
I think my teaching experiences have strengthened my capabilities to
communicate productively in academic and social contexts.

I will finish
my bachelor’s degree in December 2018. Therefore, the summer of 2018 is a
critical time for me.  Since I intend to
apply abroad for a Master’s program in the field of Molecular biotechnology, it
would be convenient for me to have an international experience. The summer of
2018 is a time when I can refine my knowledge and skills in my areas of
interest, Gain some research experience, be a part of research lab team and get hands-on involvement in a research activity. I aim to pursue a research career and I want to gain some insight
to what it entails. As an undergraduate in Biotechnology, I look forward to
train myself for future independent research projects through a summer
internship. I am a resourceful and resilient person and I am proud of the way I
have developed as a student. My high attendance shows that I am a reliable and
dedicated student.

The reason I’m
applying for the International Summer Research Program at EPFL School of Life
Sciences is that you give an opportunity to all undergraduate students around
the world to participate in ongoing research in your laboratories. The labs
that participate in the program vary in research topics which offer so many
options and they involve topics I am most interested in and studied
intensively. All of my subjects have involved independent study at college
which means I will be prepared for the style of work that University will
expect of me. I’ve
spent the last 2 years studying hard, learning laboratory skills and reading
research articles. And I hope to get involved in your research program in order
to improve my research skills, since I will shortly start my own.

I appreciate
you considering my application and I would be honored to be part of your Summer
Research Program. I understand that you will attract the best candidates in the
field and I am confident that I would flourish in that environment. Working and
sharing with other highly motivated students would be a joy.