A day in the lab is what you make of it. The quicker you are, the sooner you are finished with work. In my lab, it seems as though there is a hundred different studies being done at once. I have only one study I work on and it’s my job to complete it to the best of my abilities.
As soon as a arrive at the lab, I immediately get started. My working partner Graham will tell me what ha has already done and what I need to do. Without hesitation I get to work knowing that the more time efficient I am, the quicker we are done (something Graham is constantly reminding me of). I usually start with flushing the chambers and getting them ready by installing the syringe of Remifentanil. The dose of Remifentanil is based on the weight of the rat; therefore, we must weigh and prepare the rats before this step takes place. Weighing the rats is difficult as they wont stop moving. This makes it hard for the scale to get an accurate measurement. Once this is done the rat’s catheter is flushed to make sure blood clots are removed before the Remifentanil self-administration trial begins. A sheet is provided to see which rats get injections and with what they will be injected with. The trial cannot start until these rats have their injections making this step critical in terms of time efficiency. Graham has noticed that I have become very good at this and thus I am in charge of injections most of the time. Older rats are the best because they take the injections like a champ. The younger rats however seem to freak out and do their best to poop on you as much as possible. It is hard to treat an animal with respect when it does this but of course you have to. Once the rats are in the chamber, we start their trial via a computer. During the hour we wait, I usually feed the other rats while Graham cleans old cages. An hour later we must take all the rats out of the cage and flush them to prevent catheter clogging overnight. While I am flushing the rats, Graham is flushing the chambers and imputing data. We then put the rats away and make sure all the drugs are properly stored. We then get things on order for the next day and then head home.