Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Useful Lessons

Class began with a short informative speak about the equipment of the lab. Professor Hall did not go into much depth because she excepted us to ask questions and knew the information she would tell us would not be absorbed.

To practice pipetting, we conducted the first lab in our textbook. It required working with a P20, P200 and P1000 micropipettor (measures 1μl-20μl, 1μl-200μl and 10μl-1000μl respectfully) and solutions of different colored water. The first part of the lab was an exercise with the P20, the second part was an exercise with a P 1000, designed to develop skills with the micropipettor of various sizes. When I got to the last step of the first exercise, where I was directed to calibrate the micropipettor by picking up the amount collected in the reaction tube, all of the water did not go into the micropipettor. After doing the lab a second time and getting the same results, I asked our Professor. She explained that I was over pipetting the solution and was only supposed to go to the first, which I thought I did. I retried the experiment and managed to get all of the solution withdrawn from the reaction tube. I managed to complete the second part of the lab with minimal errors and moved onto the Protocol experiment.

The Protocol experiment was more complicated. It required denaturing calf thymus DNA with a hot then cold bath and referring back to the control, which was the first procedure of the lab, for any structural changes. The hot and cold bath broke the hydrogen bonds between complimentary nitrogen bases and would the effect would have been observed as thinner DNA strands; I did not see the effect of the enzyme because I did not have a control. We also mixed another DNA solution with DNase, which is an enzyme that cuts the DNA, to observe what effect the enzyme had on the DNA strands. I saw the effect from the enzyme as little particles floating in the solution, but I could not compare to see if I had the correct results because the first part of the lab did not work.

Since most students did not see results, Professor Hall wrote to us in an email that the experiment involving calf thymus DNA today will be repeated on Thursday. She wrote that the suppliers said the inconvenience may be due to a problem with the batch given to the laboratory. I am glad we get to redo the lab because I was one of the students that couldn’t see the DNA but a glass of cloudy water. I did learn how to see the DNA at the end of class, but I didn’t have time to do the entire lab with my newfound information from the helpfulness of my lab partner.

After class and lunch, some friends and I met at the green—main lawn area. It was finally time to start acting like college students and sit on the green. It was uncomfortable, and I managed to finish my reading assignment three hours after beginning. There were also many flies hovering around our circle of students. I did get to see what happened when I was outside the quadrangle of my housing area and staying relatively close to the center of campus. There was a student performing juggling, which I appreciate because I have no hand-eye coordination for throwing and catching a ball, and various groups that played sports or sat in a circle similar to my group’s.

Coming from dinner, Frank, Andrew, Kathleen, two other people, and I went to yoga. Yoga happens every week Mondays at 7:30 PM and Thursdays at 2 PM. Yoga was rescheduled to Tuesday at 6 PM, but I don’t know the reason why it was moved. When we walked through the door, the instructor had already started the session with a basic sitting position. We each grabbed our own mat and sat near the front as the instructor instructed us. Over the course of an hour we relieved our stress with a series of stretches that clam weary muscles. I thought I would fall asleep in with the positions—the music was soothing and the mat was comfortable—but I held my ground until the next stretch was called. By the time the session was over, I felt like I could run a mile or sleep—I think I prefer to sleep.

Tomorrow there is so much to do. I must pace myself before I do too much and I have no time for my obligations. I am glad I am learning this lesson this summer because in college students do not have time to have trial and error, and I do over exhaust myself.

1 comment:

  1. Erinn,

    This is amazing. What are the chances that you would be using the exact same equipment for your pipetting as I use in my own home DNA lab?

    And what are the chances that both of us would have contaminates calf thymus? Of course, I think that mine got contaminated when my cat grabbed it and drug it through the living room.

    I don't know why, Erinn, but with your one line I'm having trouble focusing on anything else: I need to know where the flies came from.


Real Time Web Analytics