The first time going abroad, dealing with winter and enjoying the capital city of America was one of the best experiences in my life. I am Andrianus Sembiring, Junior Research Fellow of The Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center (IBRC), which is located in Bali, Indonesia.
For two months I had an internship under the supervision of Amanda Windsor, Emma Ransome, Allen Collins and Chris Meyer in the Invertebrate Zoology department at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian. During my internship, I experienced a lot of new things. I learned some about being a curator, like how to preserve and handle samples and keep track of them using a database system. I visited the Museum Support Center, in Maryland, where all the wet collections (more than 30 million!) are preserved. I was so excited and hope I can build a mini collection in the IBRC now that I am back. I also learned more about DNA Barcoding, which is a method that is used to inventory biodiversity richness based on genetics. We are working together to estimate the diversity of Decapoda (crabs and shrimps) that live in dead coral heads in Indonesia using DNA Barcoding methods. Beside that, I had a chance to learn Next Generation Sequenching techiques to conduct metagenomics (sequencing a sample with many different organisms in it). I learned how to prepare these mixed samples, extract DNA, and how to run the IonTorrent machine and get a lot of data. I felt so lucky to be there, because I could meet great scientists from around the world.
I was supported to be at the Smithsonian by the USAID program, and I hope after all of these great experiences, I can share all my experiences with others at IBRC in Indonesia.