Setbacks and Midterms

Since my last post things have gotten quite crazy.  Not only have I had 5 midterms in the last three weeks but I can not seem to get a simple experiment going in the lab.  What I want to do is get a preliminary experiment going to see if we can make longer DNA nanotubes using a few different techniques. But lab gremlins (see Paul’s last post) and rouge PCR machines have all set that back.  It’s a bit frustrating, especially since I’ve been going into the lab more and more for less results, but I think it is a good learning experience.  When thinking about the experiment before doing it, my thought was “oh this will be easy! Maybe two weeks till data”.  Oh how naive. Instead it has taken two weeks, maybe more I’ve lost track, to find out that a PCR machine might not be working and we can’t even get past the starting point.  But hey, no one said science was easy.  Outside of lab though, things are especially busy.  I am only taking 13 units this quarter, but the classes I’m taking seem to add up to the same amount of work as 20 units. Yet, as always, I am finding new and exciting papers and area of research to keep me motivated.  For example, researchers at the University of Minnesota (I’m pretty sure), have been able to use a chemical commonly found in shampoo to wash mouse organs of their cells, leaving the protein and cartilage scaffolding exposed.  This allows them to “regrow” a functional organ, i.e. the heart, using another mouse’s stem cells and then transplant it without the risk of immunological rejection.  If that doesn’t motivate you to do research I don’t know what will.



Posted in 2010-2011
2 comments on “Setbacks and Midterms
  1. Kyle Nelson says:

    alex, stop being a nerd and go surf

  2. Bryan Juarez says:

    I totally feel you on that lab gremlin stuff. I’ve been keeping up with my ostracod morphology work I started a year ago at Oakley Lab. There I was looking at some slides and taking some microphotographs using the best microscope ever, then I had a question and I had the lab tech come help me. Turns out as soon as he picked up the binder next to me, the slide box fell to the floor, cracking hours upon hours of perfectly good dissections. I specifically remember having put the slide box elsewhere. Unable to salvage some broken slides, I had to redo a dissection of the ever tedious .2 mm long creature. These lab gremlins will pay.

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Student Contributors
Alex Iteen is a second year student majoring in Biology. He is interested in bioengineering and synthetic biology. He is currently working in Dr. Fygenson's lab on DNA nanotubes.
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David Wallace is a third year student majoring in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology. He is currently working in Professor Weimbs's lab studying the pathogenic mechanisms of Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD).
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Eneida Chesnut is a senior majoring in chemical engineering. She transferred from SBCC, where she studied chemistry. She works with organic materials for solar cells and is very interested in renewable energy research.
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Erzsebet is a second year chemical engineering major. She is interested in biotechnology and biophysics, and is working in Professor David Awschalom's lab investigating how cephalopod skin responds to different types of stimulation by light.
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Madison Cornwell is a second year student majoring in Biochemistry and Spanish. She is a EUREKA intern through the California NanoSystems Institute and the Resident Assistant of the Women in Science and Technology House in Manzanita Village. She will be working closely with Dr. Kosik and graduate student Israel Hernandez for the remainder of her time at UCSB.
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