Last weeks in Williamsburg

Environment. My last few weeks in the lab were quiet since the other two undergrads were gone. It was pretty lonely being stuck inside a freezing cold lab with no one to talk to.  I’ve learned that I need a social work environment. I am much more productive when I have a friend also working in the same room or at the same table. I don’t enjoy feeling isolated from the world. It is nice to be able to take a break and have someone to take a walk to Wawa with or share something funny with. Knowing this, I’m going to make sure I schedule my time in the lab next fall when they are also in the lab.

Collaboration. I had my first conference call with our collaborator, Bridget Wilson. I was pretty nervous and let Greg do all of the talking. However, I learned a lot from just listening to their conversation. This research experience has given me the opportunity to see how experimentalists and computational biologists come together to develop a project. Basically, the experimentalist presents their findings and then the computational lab tries to develop a model to make predictions for the experimentalist. Biological problems are becoming increasingly complex and are too difficult to understand without a computer and quantitative analysis. For us, the hardest part has been deciding what the specific question we want to answer is and what we want our model to do. Once we get there, we can move forward on the development of the model and make some predictions.

Software. I’m still playing around with VCell. I also talked to Ion Mourau on the phone and we will be working together at Cold Spring Harbor. The Beta version has new capabilities and can do stochastic simulations with Smoldyn. In matlab, I played around with some of the example Greg sent me of Brownian motion, random walks, and diffusion. It was really cool just to see the simulations.

Next post will be about Cold Spring Harbor!!!