My summer in a nutshell

I have to say. This summer research experience was a wonderful and fruitful experience. This research experience I had last summer was just as fruitful yet drastically different from this summer’s research experience. Last summer, I had the opportunity to work in a computational linguistics lab, which gave me experience with computer programming and running participants. Moving from a linguistics lab to a biochemistry lab was exciting yet frightening at first. The first two weeks of training in the biochemistry lab was intense but I actually fell in love with the type of work we were doing. We learned basic procedures (DNA plasmid preparation, tissue culture, cell fixation, fluorescence microscopy, etc.) that we would be using on a regular basis for our independent projects and in the lab as a whole.

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Update from week 7/22/19

After a busy week of training, I was able to redirect my focus to my independent project. This week, I did not start an new experiment. However, I maintained my stock cells to prevent overgrowth and cell death. I also performed data collection on my Trial 3 of the no treatment/chloroquine experiment. Data collection is long and tedious process but it is necessary. Once the data is collected, I am able to create figures such as representative images and summarizing graphs. During data collection, I noticed that a few of the slides I made did not have cells on them. This happens from time to time. Even when you follow the procedure correctly, these mishaps happen. This means that I have to do another trial.

Update from week 7/15/19

This week was slower in the lab. Everyone in the lab had the opportunity to meet two PLUS-S students. These students are incoming freshmen that are interested in the sciences and we should them what research is like at the College of William and Mary. I trained one of the students in cell fixation and she did a wonderful job! The PLUS-S student mounted the microscope slides with ease! She was a natural! I hope she considers doing STEM research in the coming years. Any lab would be happy to have her.

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Update for week 7/1/19

The week of 7/1/19, I performed data collection or cell scoring on my Trial 1 of the no treatment/chloroquine experiment. I had to count 100 cells in multiple areas on the slides to see how many of the 100 cells had stress granules and did not have stress granules. I also cultured my cells to make sure that they would still be viable when I entered the lab the following week.

Results from Trial 1/ Starting Trial 2

At the beginning of this week, I looked at my Trial 1 slides for no treatment/ chloroquine that I made the week before. I examined the twelve chloroquine slides and took pictures of those slides. I need to perform statistics on the slides but I will do that throughout this week. In general, the majority of the cells on the chloroquine slides were not viable and the cells that were alive were scarce. One explanation for this could have been forceful washing during the cell fixation process. This week when I do cell fixation, I will make sure to be careful when washing the cells using the autopipette. I have also done cell culture for Trial 2 of no treatment/chloroquine. I will add my DNA conditions to my cells today and add the autophagy inhibitor drug, chloroquine, to the cells tomorrow.