This rotation is going by in a blur! I spent Week 6 working on more sub-cloning stuff. After sequencing some plasmids and deciding which ones we wanted to use, I grew some bacteria expressing those plasmids and made maxi preps to get more DNA. This week we'll be pasting these plasmids into vectors that will later be made into lentivirus for infecting neurons. It's been really interesting to go through all of these little steps -- some projects require a lot of work before you can actually do the cool experiment that will answer your research question. The work is going a little slower than usual because I'm new to these techniques, but the postdoc I'm working with has been very patient with me. He wants to make sure that I'll get to see the end result of the cool experiments, though. With only two weeks left in my rotation, I'm not sure we'll get there in time, but I am curious to see how things go, even if we don't get there until after my rotation has officially ended.
I also collected a lot of DNA samples from some mysteriously un-genotyped mice. For a while, no one was really maintaining this particular mouse line, so we're not sure if any of these animals have our mutation of interest. I'll be making lots of DNA preps and checking out their genotype, although I've been temporarily stymied by a bad batch of proteinase K (enzyme used to digest the tissue samples before I can extract DNA from them).
Outside of the lab, things are going well. I gave my poster presentation, and people seemed pretty happy with it. (Although, one professor suggested that I be "A little less Laura" in the future -- meaning that I should, for example, avoid using colorful slang terms when characterizing mutant phenotypes. It's hard for me to be "less Laura," but it's the more professional way to go.) Also, the poster was so shiny. It's amazing how impressive my work looks when blown up to gigantic size and printed on high-gloss paper.
I have a group project due for my grad seminar this week, and I'll be taking the final exam for my Cellular and Developmental Neuroscience class on Thursday evening. I'm pretty pleased with myself right now, as I reviewed about half of the material this weekend. I have relatively light lab duties for the next few days (today I will be setting up a couple of enzyme digests and then going home) so I ought to have plenty of time to study before Thursday. If I can be strong and avoid the siren song of daytime television, that is.
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