Blog #5: DNA Extraction and Amplification


The last few weeks of my summer research have been dedicated to the third component of my project, analysis of bacterial community composition. This is done through T-RFLP, or terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism. In order to do this assay, I first had to extract DNA, and I am still in the process of making sure I can get good amplification so that I know I have enough DNA with which to work. I am leaving campus tomorrow to prepare for a family trip, so I probably won’t be able to do T-RFLP until I resume research in the fall. However, I have still gotten some exciting results despite some setbacks in this part of my project.

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Technical Difficulties

I went to the lab on Monday to begin working on a new set of data analysis. I had two SPSS files up and running. I was making a lot of progress and saving the information as I went along (a lesson I learned the hard way). However, I realize my information was not saving. By now I had been working a good three hours on the files. I exited the files and when I went to reopen them, they wouldn’t open at all. Apparently, the entire WM network was not working. It had shut down and wouldn’t let me access the lab folder. I had to map the network all over again. But that wasn’t working either because the network was still down. After waiting an hour, I called the IT department to see if they can help me reconnect. They said to wait longer.  After waiting another hour, I gave up and left the lab.

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Busy busy!

Hello again! I can’t believe summer is just over halfway over! This summer has turned out to be one of the most interesting and challenging summers I think I have ever experienced. Not only have I been focused on my research in Dr. Forsyth’s lab, but I have also been consumed with studying for my summer classes – especially organic chemistry!! Because my classes and research both have required a lot of attention, I have learned how to juggle two large commitments and manage time productively. I have really appreciated all the patience and help that Dr. Forsyth, my mentor – Stephen Cole, and other students have given to me. I know that I would be overwhelmed and less productive with research it I did not have the help from them.

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An Introduction and Getting Started

Hello Everyone,

My name is Meg Schwenzfeier and I am a recipient of the Sharpe and Community Studies Grant. I am doing summer research looking at how individuals’ social connections influence whether they volunteer for a political campaign. It took me a while to figure out the blogging process and longer than expected to obtain some of the data needed in order to begin my research, so I will do my best to update regularly from now on.

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A Few Graphs and Plans for the Future


So I’m going to be pretty bland on this last post and just give y’all a bit of summary of the things that I’ve done this summer and what still needs to be done for my thesis.

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