Last Day!

The summer has flown by and today is my last day in the lab.  Earlier this week I had finished entering all 96 samples only to find that I had mislabeled the standard peaks therefore ALL of my data was off.  I then had to go back and relabel and re-enter ALL of the data again.  This was very frustrating but the thought that I was nearing the end of all of my summer lab work kept me going.  I finally finished entering all of the data and then proceeded to calculate each samples weight.  Once I had organized all of the data and had printed it out I was done!

To finish things up in the laboratory I edited the protocol for the procedure I had written for my lab work so that when the other undergraduate comes back to the lab he will be able to pick up where I had left off with the research. I included things such as how to label data on the GC analysis program and that you should use a glass pipette tip for certain steps to avoid integration of plastic material from a plastic pipette tip into the sample.  It is important that the next person uses the exact protocol I used in order to obtain consistent data (of course improvements can be made on every protocol and if they find somewhere to improve the quality of the results the protocol may be altered. 

I feel very accomplished after my time here.  I not only ran and analyzed 90 something samples but I wrote my own protocol, and did some co-expression analysis as well.  I also learned a lot about the chemistry and reasoning behind each step in the procedure I was doing.  I was fortunate enough to have a great teacher, Dr. Li Tan who is brilliant and carefully explained each portion of the procedure to me. 

I am going to miss everyone that I have met in the lab.  The people here were incredibly warm and helpful and if I ever had questions would gladly help answer them.  I would like to thank all of those that I worked with and Dr. Mohnen for letting me be a part of this experience.

Also I would like to give a shout out to my neighbor Tyler, and of course my roommates Josh and Pete.  Thank you so much for the amazing summer I had a great time hanging out with all of you.

I am going to miss my roommates incredibly.  It is still hard for me to wrap my head around the idea that I won’t be returning to my summer apartment to find Josh playing video games or Pete playing cards.  I will definitely miss Athens and had an amazing experience that I wouldn’t change for the world.  

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed hearing about my summer experience in Athens Georgia.

Goodbye y’all :)

2 years ago


 

Data and a fairy bikemother

This week I am starting to wind down with all of my research.  I have finished prepping all of my samples and am now just finishing running them through the analysis machine.  I have also started going through my data, entering it into the computer and standardizing it.  Unfortunately, this means entering over hundreds of samples by hand into an excel spreadsheet (not the most exciting work, but a necessary part).  I also unfortunately found that some of my samples were running blank on the GC machine.  This could be due to not drying out my samples thoroughly enough so the Tri-Sil will degrade the sample.  Thankfully I have original samples saved in a freezer so they can be redone.  

This morning I was running a bit late and when I hopped on my bike I found the handle was loose so I was unable to steer my bike.  I had just about resigned myself to the fact I would have to bring my bike into the shop when all of a sudden out of nowhere I heard “you need an allen key to fix that”.  I looked up and saw a guy who was standing outside of his apartment.  Since I had no idea what an allen key was or how to fix my bike the guy came down and brought his tools and fixed my bike for me, he truly was my fairy bikemother and I managed to get to the lab in time. 

2 years ago


 
My roommates took me to see the football stadium this past weekend and it is HUGE so I figured I would include a picture.

My roommates took me to see the football stadium this past weekend and it is HUGE so I figured I would include a picture.

2 years ago


 

So many samples!

This past week I continued to prep and run samples per usual.  I have run over 70 samples through the GC analysis machine by now!  Unfortunately, the software with the chromatography data will not transfer onto a flash drive or email, so I need to print out all of my results.  I guess most people print their data out as they produce results, however, since I have let mine accumulate on the computer, I received some funny looks from other people in the lab when I printed out over 200 sheets of data (sorry trees!)  The lab is still trying to determine how to read and analyze the data consistently.  This week I will actually start analyzing and standardizing my data using our standards.

On one of the days when another lab was using the GC machine I took a break from my work and helped out one of the other undergraduates in the lab with some of his.  I went to the greenhouse with him and we cut leaves off of plants that he was going to use for PCR to determine if the plants were homozygous for a specific trait they had been trying to produce.  The greenhouse is a pretty amazing place and has hundreds of different types of plants, many I could not identify.

My learning experience in Georgia has not been solely lab related.  I have actually learned a lot about sports while I am here as well (thank you male roommates…I have watched more ESPN than I probably ever will in my life).  The other night my roommates explained basketball to me and I can proudly say that I can name at least 6 basketball players and determine what position the player is based on their height AND I now know what a lockout is! (Trust me, this is an achievement and my roommates are very proud).  My roommates also helped me choose a favorite basketball team, so I am now officially a warriors fan. 

2 years ago


 

Anonymous asked: Are there "Greeks" in Athens? :)

Haha I did almost accidentally buy a plane ticket to Athens Greece and then I took a look at the price and realized.  

And I do live on frat row so its the closest to Greece I’m getting here

2 years ago


 

Not so organized chaos

After having worked in multiple laboratories I have observed that most labs appear extremely messy.  Chemicals, test tubes, pipette tips and all sorts of other laboratory equipment are strewn about everywhere.  At first one would think a lab such as this needs organizing, however after working a while in the lab a person would realize that everything is actually in its most convenient place for different types of experiments.  A lab can be considered one of the greatest examples of organized chaos.  Today however, another graduate and I were sent on a mission to search for a test tube which was missing.  The other undergraduate and I had to dig through a -80 degree freezer packed with frozen samples.  Unfortunately we were unable to find the sample even after emptying the entire freezer.  The rest of the day however was very productive and I was able to run 8 samples on the GC-MS machine and prep the rest of the duplicate samples.

This past weekend wasn’t too eventful, my roommates and I watched TV and played lots of cards.  My roommates and I did have an epic battle with a giant flying cockroach which had somehow wandered into our apartment (well more like my roommates battled the cockroach and I sat on the couch freaking out).  I also went for a walk this weekend and got to explore Athens a little more.

2 years ago


 

Flying Solo

This week the lab is out at a conference so only undergraduate students and a couple PHD students are here.  I am continuing to prep samples for GC-MS and am continuing to analyze them with the GC-MS machine.  It is a great feeling knowing that I am able to continue my experiment without supervision and that I finally know where all of the materials that I need are.  I have currently analyzed 29 samples and am starting to duplicate some of my samples for analysis so at this point I am very comfortable with the procedure for GC-MS analysis and do not need to look at my lab notebook every two minutes to check my protocol (I still look every once in a while to make sure I have everything correct and am not remembering anything incorrectly.)  Because there are so many samples I will most likely be doing the GC-MS procedure and analysis for the rest of my stay in the lab. 

This week has definitely been much more relaxing than my previous week. I have finally finished reading a murder mystery I was in the middle of.  My roommates also introduced me to a show called “Swamp Monsters” which is a show about people in the deep south hunting alligators.  I had no idea that hunting alligators was even legal and was pretty horrified by the show.  One of my roommates has also insisted that he heard me say the word “y’all”, I refuse to believe him and will definitely deny this rumor.

2 years ago


 

 

Sharing is caring

This past week I continued with my GC-MS work.  I found that I needed to run 100 samples because although I only had 50, we have to duplicate the results to ensure accuracy.  Obtaining results is a long process and unfortunately is often elongated due to the sharing of equipment.  There is only one GC machine in the lab therefore many researchers are using the machine simultaneously.  Researchers need to schedule their own research around other lab’s experiments as well.  I was fortunate enough that many of the researchers won’t take morning slots to use the GC machine. Since I am usually up early in the morning to swim every day I ran my samples early in the morning.

After the week was done I managed to obtain results for 3 sample sets.  The results of our first round of GC data looked promising which was very exciting.  Some samples within sets would need to be redone however because the readout of the sugars was unclear.  

This week was a shorter week for me because I actually went on a trip over the weekend to Florida to go scuba diving! It rained the entire weekend so unfortunately the visibility in the water was not the greatest however it was still incredibly beautiful under the water and we even got to see some eels in a cave.

2 years ago


 
Since I talk a lot about GC-MS I figured I would put in an example of what results look like.  This particular sample is actually of the standards (sugars such as glucose, arabinose, fucose etc.) each peak in the graph represents a different sugar and when looking at samples the region of the peaks determine which sugars are present in each sample.

Since I talk a lot about GC-MS I figured I would put in an example of what results look like.  This particular sample is actually of the standards (sugars such as glucose, arabinose, fucose etc.) each peak in the graph represents a different sugar and when looking at samples the region of the peaks determine which sugars are present in each sample.

2 years ago