Every day I spend in the lab is different. So it’s hard to choose a prototype of my day. The protocol for my lab work usually runs on a weekly basis and each day is an incremental step of completing a western blot in combination with optimizing previous western blot procedures and troubleshooting problems with antibodies and film resolution. I start my morning by doing prep-work, usually getting ice, labeling tubes, or turning on centrifuges, and thinking through what I have to get done for that day. On our lighter days of the western protocol, we conduct additional experiments that analyze K48 ubiquitination from different approaches. On these days, a lot of coordination is required to keep the timing correct on both experiments.
When people have a break in their work, around 12 PM, everyone in the lab goes for lunch together. Having lunch together is very important in my lab. They want to facilitate a culture that encourages us to just hang out outside of the lab in a more casual setting. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day. Besides the fact that by noon I’m starving and in need of my third coffee, I like to get a chance to talk to the members of my lab about their weekend and random topics without the immediate distraction of experiments in the background. The dynamics of the lab are great. Since it’s a relatively new lab, there are only 5 people in it: my PI, the lab manager, a postdoc, another summer undergraduate research assistant, and me. This has allowed us to get to know each other better due to such close contact. Some days we’ll take a break and go out for coffee and watch the world cup game that’s on. In the Silva lab, it’s not just about developing the ability to work with one another, but also developing relationships between lab members.
After lunch, we pick up where we left off on our experiments. I’m usually kept really busy while in the lab, running around mixing solutions and processing samples. More often than not, Latin music is being played in the lab while we work and sometimes big world cup games are streamed over the speaker. It’s a really good environment to work in and I’m really happy to be there.