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.

[Read more…]

Check your cells before you wreck your cells

Amazing that six weeks have already passed! While research has been continuing at a rapid pace, the results, unfortunately, have not. Last time I mentioned that we haven’t found the right conditions to synthesize the proteins that we want to study. After much repetition of experiments and confused looks at the results (for instance, the protein that we work with is called Green Fluorescent Protein…it was not green) we have finally (hopefully) found the source of the hold-up: bad cells. That is right. The cells that we used to synthesize the protein that we then study and manipulate had somehow become contaminated such that the cells were not properly taking up the plasmid (DNA material) that they needed to obtain the ability to manufacture the protein of interest. New stock cells have been made and research can continue with more promising results.

[Read more…]