Blog #1 Literature Review and Protocol Preparation


It has now been two weeks since I began my summer research in the Bacteriophage Ecology Lab at William & Mary. I have spent this time reviewing articles and books for ideas as I’ve prepared the details of my experimental protocol. I have also shadowed some lab techniques that I will be using for my experiment once I have collected samples and set up microcosms, which will be incubated in the lab. On Monday, June 6, I learned to use tangential flow filtration to obtain filtrates and concentrates with which to create treatments. Other lab members have shown me how to prepare slides for enumeration via epifluorescence microscopy. I will later explain these lab techniques in further detail.

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Week 2 in the CBL was my first week actually spent full time in the lab. I’ve been spending a significant amount of time with Virtual Cell- tutorials and diffusion simulations. My goal is to be able to break down my project and figure out how to make it work with VCell. If not, I’ll just have to use Matlab, which according to Greg wouldn’t be the end of the world.

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Quechua in Cusco v. Quechua in the Highlands: Glorified Histories and Harsh Realities

Over the past week in Cusco, I have been able to explore more intensely the opposite ends of the spectrum encompassed in my project: the glorified image of the native Inca and the harsh reality of the indigenous, Quechua-speaking Andean of the present day.  Last week in my Quechua course, we watched a documentary called Waqaspa Kusikushayku (Happily We Cry), which centered on the Andean community of Q’eros.  The documentary highlighted the cultural practices of the Q’eros (music, agriculture, religion, etc.), but also subtly noted the neglect shown toward indigenous communities in Peru today.  This particular community, which can only be reached by a six-hour journey on foot, has no access to satisfactory education or health services, and many younger members expressed a desire to move to Cusco, where economic opportunities are greater.  It was also noted that while all young people know the Quechua songs of the community, many have absorbed the sense of shame that seems to be attached to speaking Quechua in a modern-day context and refuse to sing their traditional songs.  This attitude seems to have permeated Andean society; many members of the older generation who speak fluent Quechua and now live in Cusco or other cities simply never taught their children, who are now largely monolingual Spanish speakers.  An apparent contradiction, if you consider the extent to which the Quechua language has permeated the city’s surfaces, but it simply serves to demonstrate that that which is associated with the Incas is valued and included in representations of the Peruvian nation, whereas that which is associated with the present-day indigenous population is marginalized and excluded from these definitions. 

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