Update from Tyler

Hey fellow researchers,

It has been continuing to grow busier here in the lab! Four mothers have come in since my last post! Gratefully, all the mothers and the infants have been great. The mothers really catch on quick with following the directions of the feed, which makes everything run smoothly. I got to run my first infant boy this summer, which was exciting. He definitely seemed to have a voracious appetite! It was interesting to see how much he accepts the baby spinach and potatoes since he is already starting to eat more appealing table food. But he ate one and half jars, which is pretty good for an infant! When we did the temperament procedures with him on the second day, it was interesting to see the differences and the similarities between his reactions and the previous baby’s. He was pretty content most of the time, except he got a little upset by one of the tasks, which the previous baby had not liked as well. I’m starting to wonder if there will be a pattern in how babies react to the tasks, but it is still too early to tell yet!
The next two baby girls that came in had pretty easy temperaments and were very comfortable in the lab. One of the girls ate a lot, but the other was more distracted with her reflection in the double sided mirror, which was pretty funny. I was curious to see if the last baby that came in would be different because she is older and had more food experience but she was not really different in her consumption patterns. I am curious to see in the future if age and food experience will make a difference in acceptance. I will tell you all how the rest of the day twos went in my next blog!

Cornish reading list

I leave for Cornwall on Monday, and will hopefully have more blog-worthy material than I know what to do with. My summer thus far has been spent planning logistics and doing a lot of reading. Not a bad way to spend a summer. In addition to my actual research topic, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about working at home.

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I feel like the great majority of research is troubleshooting.  Then, seemingly by accident, something works and the great works of science are born.  I have spent  a great deal of time this week troubleshooting.  My project involves real-time PCR looking at Secreted Ig and Membrane Ig ratios and then comparing these ratios to Pax5 full length versus Pax5delta2 ratios.  Hopefully, in the end we will be able to find a correlation between alternative splicing and an immune response.  But this week, I have realized that my assay is completely worked out for the Secreted/Membrane stuff and by accident, I have a working Paxdelta2 primer set.  Unfortunately, the Pax full length is giving me a real headache.  I am using a SYBR green probe and likely a TaqMan probe would solve all of my problems but when 3/4 of the assay work with the cheaper reagent, it seems pointless to buy a much more expensive probe (which would mean that I had to repeat EVERYTHING with the new probe because it is not acceptable to complete half of a quantitative study using SYBR green and then use TaqMan for the remainder).  But for now I am still troubleshooting, hoping that maybe by chance I will figure out a way to make this little problem and thing of the past.  And all will be well with my project once again.

June 25th – First Day Back to Shahe

Hello everyone, I prefer to make entries into my journal so these blogs will show up later than when originally written.

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Sand Dollar Orgies

Sand Dollars put out their gametes once a year when an environmental cue triggers them to start spawning.  Once a few of them put out gametes, the others in the area will usually all start too.  After several trials where we were unable to induce animals to release any usable eggs, it seems this behavior worked out poorly for us and that all of the animals we collected originally spawned out when we were not in the lab.  So, more sand dollars were ordered from down east Maine (which is apparently Northern Maine).

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