Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Not dead...yet

The final rotational frontier.

It's been a while since I last posted anything and, as usual, I feel guilty about this (I knew those years of Catholic school would come in handy someday!). I just finished my rotation in the virology lab. I really learned a lot in the last few weeks: how to run SDS-PAGE, how to do a Western blot, how to do co-immunoprecipitation, beta galactosidase assays, luciferase assays...and how to screw up most of the aforementioned items. I met Henrietta Lacks for the first time last Wednesday. It was a little eerie thinking about the history of her cells as I transfected construct after construct into them. I only made her acquaintance for a short time though - on Friday I told HeLa goodbye and thank you. It was a slightly religious experience for me.

Onwards and upwards! I technically started my third and final rotation in the cholera lab yesterday, although I didn't do anything then. Or today either. In fact, I'm not entirely sure what I should be doing in the immediate future. Something about cloning GFP into something and then getting it into zebrafish?? I will be working on developing a zebrafish model of colonization/disease. This is a newish (funded!) project, which actually sounds pretty exciting. I'm fairly sure that I'll be working with the tech in my first rotation lab to figure out the best way to get the cholera bugs into the zebrafish. The GFP construct is to make it easier to track the specific location of the bacteria within the gut of the fish. I think. We'll see how this goes.

In other news, I did reasonably well on my first immunology and virology tests, and I'm trying to get caught up with reading and writing for bacterial pathogenesis. I have to present a journal club-type paper to the department at the end of the month and prelims are looming large in the not-so-distant future (first week of June). The thought of prelims really terrifies me. Especially the thought of Dr. Dick lobbing questions about secretion systems and quorum sensing - assignment #2 - at me. I'm not getting paid nearly enough for the kind of anxiety I'm experiencing. That's no joke - I think UM and MSU students get several thousand dollars more per year than I do. I feel like I should get a bonus for managing not to get mugged, carjacked, or shot at in Detroit. That should seriously count for something.