Hello Again!

Hello again! I bet you thought I forgot my login. (I did.)

Wow! What a difference a year makes. It’s fall in school again and I’m still plugging away, only from Las Vegas now. It was so hard to say goodbye to Portland, the people and animals that I love there but this where I need to be now. I’m excited to see what adventures UNLV has in store for me.

Classes have begun and I am finding my way through a new campus and a new schedule.  What I mean by finding my way through a new campus is that I literally walk through buildings I have zero business being inside of just for a break from the heat. I have a second reason. It’s that I hope that maybe there’s a shortcut through whatever building I am currently trespassing upon. Of course, if the answer to the second reason is no, at least I got a little bit of air conditioning in the adventure.

The new lab (Dr. Brian Hedlund’s lab) has been breaking me in on media and solution preparation. On Monday, I made some CTAB and a few other components to the protocol for today. Dr. Hedlund is providing some DNA extractions from Actinobacteria. As part of this, my first week I streaked some plates for isolation to make sure we were pulling bacteria from only one colony (these are not specifically identified Actinobacteria). Our lab manager, Dr. Mandy Williams, showed me how to do anaerobic inoculations using glass bottles and septa. Nerd alert: That was fun for me since I’ve only worked with anaerobic bacteria in my Spring 2012 Microbiology class, but we weren’t doing anything besides working with anaerobic jars. 


Today’s adventure continued with the first part of the protocol for the DNA extraction. Having never worked with Chloroform, (and already battling side effects from my accident in June exacerbated by the heat) I did a lot of watching and taking pictures. There’s also not a ton of room to work in the hood. The lab is currently hosting a scientist from China who was also working with us. He told me about how his lab at home has to steam chloroform in pellet form and collect the condensation for the chloroform to get it into solution. That would be a recipe for disaster for me. It’s also possible that I really misunderstood him. 

Since my only experience with genomic extraction didn’t involve Chloroform, I was super curious to know why it’s being used in this protocol. Its function is to remove cell debris after the lysosome breaks open the cells. Once the chloroform is added to the supernatant, the tubes are centrifuged for ten minutes. Density separates the layers of the cell debris, chloroform and DNA. It was really interesting. I bet that would have improved my last nanodrop read in Dr. Stedman's lab. I also bet if I'm wrong, someone here will tell me why. :) 

I haven’t explained Gulliver to them yet. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just bring him in, start doing my Gulliver photo bombs and let them read the blog to figure it out. (hehehhe).  In the meantime, in addition to my class load (15 credits this semester), I’ll be spending the month preparing a proposal for the Epscor undergrad scholarship for next summer. I’m also still working on my poster and presentation for the ATE Conference in October. I am so grateful that Portland Community College’s Bioscience Technology Program is going to sponsor my poster printing expenses too!

Would someone please do me a favor next semester and remind me that I almost went insane trying to take so many classes and enjoy these other amazing opportunities too? Nah, don’t remind me. I love this.





EEEeeeeee! I almost forgot! I received an email from Dr. Stedman with a picture of the SSV1 strain I isolated and filtered. They look happy! (I wasn’t entirely sure at first because the lab was looking for structural continuity. Dr. Stedman assures me that the image just shows them in different orientations.)










Hello little fusseloviridae! 


For some reason I'm fascinated by what different labs use as their tip waste containers. Of course, in Las Vegas it makes perfect sense to use the casino chip buckets! Love it!!!

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