My Coffee Experiment, etc.

As you may well know, this week is dead week, meaning I no longer have a life outside of academics.  That’s fine, I like school, but it takes some preparation to have a successful week.  Therefore, I decided to try a small experiment starting a week and a half ago.  I am normally an avid coffee drinker, 1-3 cups a day, and after so long of drinking that amount of caffeine one becomes significantly immune to it.  In order to try and get the most boost out of my coffee without drinking a significant amount more, which is severely dangerous to one’s health, about two weeks ago I gave up coffee cold-turkey.  The idea was that not taking in caffeine for a prolonged period of time would return my tolerance to a somewhat normal level and make coffee have a better effect during the week I need it the most. The week and a half I didn’t drink coffee did not go well.  I was tired, irritable, and had odd headaches.  Those eventually subsided and I felt normal.  This week I started drinking coffee again.  I started off slow, only one cup in the morning on Monday, and it worked great.  I was able to work all day without feeling tired.  However, the next day, I got cocky and tried three cups, one in the morning and two at night. Mistake! I was really working for about and hour and a half and then I started to get jittery and couldn’t focus and ended up having a horrible night’s sleep.  So the good news is it worked, the bad news is I need to find my tolerance level again.

Outside of that experiment, we finally got the length experiment we’ve been trying to do all quarter working.  It’s ongoing presently but I don’t think we got the results we wanted/expected.  We were trying to make longer DNA nanotubes by keeping the DNA at a temperature where the tubes wouldn’t form but also wouldn’t melt.  By then adding already formed tubes to the incubating ones we expected that really long tubes would be formed.  However, problems with the slides we use to image these things is keeping us from making a solid conclusion.  Hopefully, next quarter we can figure out these small issues.

~Alex

P.S. Here’s a funny cartoon about coffee: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/coffee

 

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Posted in 2010-2011

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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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