Week 7 — Finalization

My summer has come to an end but my research work needs further effort. This week I tried to collect images and data from the first patch of tadpoles I got. However, as I mentioned, these tadpoles are now way too big for the microscope and the mold we made. The images I took from tadpoles are not the clearest ones I could get, and since the tadpole size was way too big, many of them get squished under the microscope and died after the experiment. Therefore, I spent more time on reading scientific papers and familiarizing the software for my data analysis. I will continue my research during the fall and spring semester.

Summary: Tears in Antarctic Ice

As was discussed in the abstract, there has been a net loss of ice around Antarctica throughout the past decades, and much of this ice loss is due to iceberg calving. The process of iceberg calving begins with rift propagation, which can be analogized similarly to tearing a piece of paper.

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Week 6 – Tadpole issues

Last week I diagnosed my molecular reagent issues, so this week I initiated the second frog mating. Apparently these couples aren’t into each other very much. As a result, the embryos I got aren’t as healthy as the first round I got. Many containers soon became cloudy and eggs are clearly unfertilized. These unhealthy eggs will explode in a week, affecting other healthy eggs as well. Therefore, I went back to my old tadpoles to test my hypothesis that the cause of unclear marking is the amount of protein expressed in tadpoles. Old tadpoles are bigger than what I want but are still useful if I am doing only a diagnosis experiment. I chose another mitochondria marker and reduced the amount of DNA I injected into tadpoles to see if anything has changed. The results were quite interesting. No matter how little the tag-RFP-T was expressed, it seems like it is not specific at all, while the other marker I used labeled mitochondria clearly.

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Week 5 – Problem Encountered

One of the most important lessons I learned from lab experience is that: things never go as you expected. My initial plan for marking tadpoles’ neural progenitor cells involve a type of protein named mitoRFP_t. Such protein is a kind of red florescent protein that would emit red light under microscope. Unfortunately it turns out that this protein is contaminating mitochondria by making it sick. Instead of marking individual distinctly, it gave me a series of unclear organelles.

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Week 4 – Imaging Tadpoles

Last week I finished sorting embryos and now I have healthy tadpoles ready. Sadly my PI was out of town so I was basically alone for the most of time. I composed a poem to record this sorrow moment. [Read more…]