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Lab Work

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hey everyone! Summer is really messing with my blogging skills! In the time since my last post though, I started my summer research job. I’m working with a graduate student in a lab in the biochemistry department, performing experiments on human T-cells. Basically, we have a segment of DNA (called a promoter) that controls the transcription of a certain immune protein. Our project focuses on trying to find out what the necessary factors are that result in the highest levels of transcription (production) of this protein. The way we do that is we attach the promoter to a gene that makes a fluorescent protein and perform our experiment, and then see how bright the result is. Of course this is a very basic explanation (I could explain in a little more detail, but not much), but it’s very cool getting to work in a lab.

I spend a good deal of time in the “tissue culture” area (because it’s more sanitary in there). I always feel really “sciency” when I work in there because all of our work is done in special hoods that are completely sterile. Before we work in them, we have to spray everything down with 70% ethanol (and not the kind you can drink!) and spray everything that goes in there (including our hands) as well. I haven’t really branched off into my own project yet because I’m still learning the ways of the lab, but sometime this summer I’ll start working a bit more independently. Hopefully I’ll discover something!

We work in hoods much like this one.

(Source: http://www.stanford.edu/group/barronlab/laboratory.htm)

Mike
Biochemistry, Atmospheric/Oceanic Studies (ATOC) minor • Austin, Texas