Life in the Perfect Lab

My work in the Perfect Lab varies from day to day. The day may start with me immediately working because at this point I know what I’m expected to do. Nevertheless, on days where I have no idea what I’m supposed to do, I sit and talk with my mentor, Jenny, about the next experiments I need to complete to finish my construct*. Most days consist of me performing PCR’s on particular segments of gDNA to make the constructs for biolistic transformation. However, every week I learn something new in order to move further in the project. Jenny primarly introduces different techniques and approches to solving problems in experiments. Besides performing PCR’s and gel electrophoresis, I have learned to cut bands out of gels, extract DNA from gels, innoculate microbes, isolate DNA from cells and a plethora of other tips and procedures. I’m usually doing 2-3 of these things in a single day.

In addition to this, I have also learned from my mistakes and through those mistakes learned more about myself. For example, I have noticed that around 4 or 5pm, I am more prone to making simple mistakes compared to the beginning of the work day. Nowadays, I avoid performing complicated procedures at that time of the day and simply prepare to do it the next day. In doing this, it forces me to be more congnicent of time and prioritize my responsibilities for the day.

Fortunately, I have been able to produce sufficient yeilds with my PCR’s and DNA extractions to be able to transform the C. neoformans fungi. The next couple of weeks will be a little more stressful because my mentor will be leaving and I have to prepare/start mice experiments.

*construct: DNA that is to be put into an organism’s genome

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