Tick Sampling in the Virginia Peninsula–an overview of the summer thusfar

It’s now about mid-way through the summer and I’ve sampled approximately half of my study sites.  I’ve visited 66 (of about 125) transects and collected ticks.  Areas visited so far include the Colonial Parkway, York River State Park,  the Greensprings trail area and land owned by Colonial Williamsburg.

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Abstract: Sausage Diving

“No one should see how laws or sausages are made.” –misattributed to Otto von Bismarck

This summer I plan to dive into the ugly world of Congressional politics. Specifically, I will be looking at the whip data for the 1993 decision to join NAFTA.

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Trials and Tribulations: first month of H. pylori research

The process of scientific research is never as smooth and linear as one would hope. What starts out as a simple and straightforward experimental setup can be plagued with errors and endless troubleshooting. I began this summer’s research with the goal of determining whether acetone is the environmental stimulus that triggers the activation of the CrdRS signal transduction pathway in H. pylori (HP). The experimental design is simple: I grow up some HP cells in blood agar plates, pass them to SFBB culture after 24 hours, treat one group with acetone, extract RNA from the resulting cell pellets, turn the RNA into cDNA, and run a qRT-PCR with the cDNA samples. I was hoping to get some sort of data by the end of the first week. But such was not the case in reality.

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Let’s Talk About the Transvaal Question, and Why We Cared (Part I of II)

Hello all,

The past few weeks have been extremely busy, with newspapers, manuscripts and the books of the time continually offering up gems to Your Intrepid Reporter.  Unfortunately, I don’t think I can delve into them without explaining the fundamentals of South African history first (unfortunately, because writers in the late 19th century felt the same way; I can’t tell you how many truncated synopses of early South African history I have read over the past few months.  At least one per day.).  So, while I promise to smuggle you some unlicensed Kimberley diamonds soon (to use a period-appropriate metaphor), I figure we should get this over with and bite the bullet as soon as possible.

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Start of the Summer

After a few weeks of settling in, I think I’ve finally gotten into the groove of things. The summer started out with a broken computer, which was unfortunate because it meant the data from the muscle staining wasn’t able to be measured with our old computer program. However, we got a new computer last week, so I’ve spent the past week learning how to use the new data collection program and setting up a new template. Other than that, everything is going pretty smoothly. We got new antibodies for some of the fiber types, which will hopefully make the staining of the muscles more effective. Lately, I’ve been staining the Soleus control muscles, which has been going reasonably well.