A “typical” day in the lab for me has varied over the past four weeks, but here are the basics.
Using a protein visualization software called PyMol, I look at the 3D structure of proteins. For the past few weeks, I have been looking at transmembrane proteins and becoming familiar with using different functions of PyMol. I also look at the different properties of the side chains and look at how they interact.
I also use OSPREY, a software developed by the Donald lab to redesign proteins. While I understand the basics of OSPREY, my knowledge of its functions and settings is very minimal at this point. Using OSPREY, I can change a protein then use PyMol to see the changes. Depending on the input, the program to take a while to run, so I usually read articles while I wait.
Of course, however, there is a good amount of time I spend trying to figure out why something is not working. I have had fairly good luck with most of my runs, but there is always some troubleshooting involved when trying something for the first time.
The lab itself looks like an ordinary computer lab. There are usually 3-4 of us in the lab, and some of the graduate students work in their offices. Usually the World Cup is playing somewhere in the room, and my PI comes in about every other day in the afternoon to discuss how people’s projects are going. Overall, I really like all the people in lab, the relaxed environment, and having the opportunity to be learning so many new things.