Stage 1-Steady Steps

With a week past in the Colton Lab, I am absolutely confident that this will be a wonderful summer. Now, I say this recklessly of course, there will probably be plenty of moments where the urge to nap or to give up will be great, but nonetheless, I expect some of the greatest weeks of the year coming.

Like most, there are certain experiences I would be shocked not having: experimental failure, scheduling conflicts, basic protocol training, and tedious manual work. Although mingled with successful experiences- like discovering fascinating patterns, developing new skills, and exploring my interests-one might wonder, why even bother? I mean, personally, if I were to expect anything, why not purely good things like relaxing at home all summer and eating ice cream? Well, I certainly have this thought waking up early every morning, but something about arriving and just being in Dr. Carol Colton’s lab everyday brings forth some sense of contentment. And by contentment, I refer not to the complacency of finally being in an Alzheimer’s frontier-leading lab- though that thought by itself is very exciting – but instead, I speak of the eagerness that settles in every morning mapping out my plans for the day, for the summer, for the next 3 years. There is some ineffable emotion caught up in breath whenever I am researching or watching our amazing technicians, Joan Wilson and Stuart Sundseth, working.

But I digress, sometimes there is no romanticizing the day’s 6th BCA assay or getting entirely lost in the background literature for your own project. I could say, as a whole, this week has been a struggle; from relentless protocol practice to swamps of scientific articles, I have been playing catch up to hone my skills, knowledge, and the trust of others, so that I can work on an equal playing field as them. Slowly however, I am getting there. As I sift through my second window of 20-some article tabs, the words and techniques used in the lab is flowing more cohesively and efficiently. I am gaining ground in understanding the different roles the protein UK114 plays in the body, and why I will be transfecting it with Chinese Hamster Ovary cells containing human tau within the coming days. Furthermore, I hope to specialize in an area related to Alzheimer’s that will allow me to add my own input at lab meetings, and as suggested by Dr. Colton, I have begun diving deep into Herpes virus research and its links to Alzheimer’s for future ideas. While all of these experiences in the past week have been undeniably overwhelming, it has been and foreseeably will continue being incredibly rewarding. If there’s one thing to expect this summer from me, then of course, I expect not to hold back  to strengthen my lab in every way I can.

Highlights of the week:

“You will become THE VIRUS KING!” -Dr. Carol Colton
“Virus King just sounds like he’s carrying something”-Stuart Sundseth
“What? But I’d love to be known as the Virus Queen.” Dr. Carol Colton

“You just want to watch them have sex”-Joan Wilson with another tech on growing a mouse colony bigger

“You will probably reach 85 too, and then yes, you too will get Alzheimer’s”- Dr. David Bennett reassuring an elderly AD-symposium attendee of her future health

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