Lillian’s Lab Life

So far, my summer has been exciting. I’ve learned so many new things and have gotten he opportunity to talk/listen to so many amazing people. I cannot wait to see how everything turns out over these last few weeks.

Daily life in a lab is different everyday. Some days are consumed by experiments, while others are filled with data analysis.

The time at which my day starts depends on what’s going on that day. If there is an experiment that has to be done by a particular time, then I may come in early to make sure that I finish the tasks in time. Other days, I come in later than normal because of BSURF scheduled events.  I usually start my day by checking in with my mentor to see what I need to have accomplished by the end of the day (or by the end of the week). Afterwards, I’ll usually start working in the lab (unless I have to analyze data for the day). Before lunchtime, I am usually extracting cells that need that will be analyzed at a later point. Extracting cells is a much more tedious process than I initially expected but I have gotten better at it as the summer has progressed.

Lunchtime is always a great time. Sometimes I’ll get lunch with my mentor and some of the other people in the lab. There is another undergraduate in the lab (who is also named Lillian) and we like to get lunch together if we are both free at the same time. There are also times when I have to get a quick lunch, especially if I am in the middle of an experiment, so I will go by myself.

After lunch, if I extracted cells in the morning, then my afternoon is consumed by the staining of those cells. If they have to be analyzed immediately, then those cells will also be taken to the flow cytometer. Sometimes I will also have to count cells, a task I did a lot of during my first week in the lab. It used to take me a very long time to count one sample but now I am much better. One of my favorite things to do in the afternoon is genotyping. I am completely fascinated by the process of gel electrophoresis, which makes the process of preparing and running the DNA samples exciting. In the afternoon, I may also prepare solutions for future experiments or watch the experiments being done by other members in the lab.

Overall, day to day life in a lab is always full of something new.


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