Since my last blog post, I went on another field visit to Rufiji with JET (Journalists Environmental Association of Tanzania). There, we did some pretesting of our phone distribution and had a focus group with women from the region to learn more about their farming and how they might use mobile phones to improve their livelihoods. It was important to get a feel for any problems that could arise from mobile phone distribution: Would this cause conflict in the household? Would their friends become resentful or jealous? Would other village members be suspicious of where they received the phone? Ultimately, we found that these risks would be minimal because we are working with JET, who has an established relationship with these women through their community groups. We also pinned down specific ways that mobile phones can impact their farming and businesses: [Read more…]

The continuing battle with the Western Blot

I have been continuing my battle with the western blot. I have had blots expose perfectly as well as blots come out of the machine completely blank. These last few weeks have taught me to be extra vigilant in my procedural work as one small mistake can ruin 4 days worth of work. My most recent blot was quite pretty but the level of trapped GFP was too low. This can be attributed to a low transfection rate. I have spent the last week tweaking the transection assay to ensure that I can get the highest transfection rate. It makes sense because the more protein you have, the brighter your blots will expose, which allows for easy analysis.

[Read more…]

Limitations of this Summer

I feel like I am a little late to the game getting my last blog in, but I was hoping I would have more to say about final data collections than I do.  This summer was definitely a frustrating one-where I felt like it was Groundhog Day because I was trying the same experiment over and over again but I could not get it to work.  I know that cloning can be a fickle thing, but I am so frustrated with myself because no matter what adjustments I made it did not work.  Therefore, I was very limited this summer in moving forward/in other directions with my project.  I think that while I continue this project in the fall, I may have to reassess my approach-potentially using different techniques and assaying in different ways than I intended to.

[Read more…]