Monday, April 3, 2017

I’m baaaaaack in a lab!!!!!! *Bill Nye voice* “IT’S SCIENCE!!!”

DISCLAIMER: This post is repetitive. It was written very quickly. I just needed and really wanted to get these thoughts down and share it all with you! <3

I have not been/worked in a lab since November 2012. Don’t quote me on that date, but it was sometime around then that I last worked in a lab at UNT.


I was describing to a friend what I missed about a lab – things that I became familiar with during the AMAZEBALLS internship I had in the Bay Area: the smell of incubators that held petri dishes growing e. coli. At first this smell was gross but in a weird way, it became comforting.
Then, PIPETTES!!!!!! My boss/mentor at this internship made sure we all respected and were aware of the wonders of a Gilson pipette. He described the “physics” used in properly and efficiently changing the measurement setting.

A few years ago, I asked my mom for a set of pipettes for either my birthday or Christmas. She asked how much it would cost. I told her “a couple thousand dollars.” She looked at me like I was crazy and definitively responded “no.”

Since I left the lab at UNT, I have been thinking of ways that automated pipettes could be used in everyday life. For example, there is residual water in the detergent slot of my family’s washing machine. There isn’t really an easy way to remove it. I don’t know how it initially got there, but it’s there, and it won’t go away. Anyways, if I just had a large pipette (25ml) I could aspirate that H2O in no time. BAM!

Here is a segment from a journal entry made on February 22, 2017:

“…I love DNA, genetics, gene therapy, the concept that a code ‘writes’ life and that we can alter it. I LOVE classic Gilson pipettes, I think about how I could use Gilsons in my everyday life, I like the smell of bacteria in incubators, I have a great appreciation, thanks to [boss/mentor at Bay Area internship] for the structure of Gilsons and I know to adjust them horizontally with a relaxed wrist to benefit from the Laws of Physics, resulting in the most efficient procedure for adjusting a pipette. I read The Double Helix for fun [emphasis added] when I was a high school freshman. I received Craig Venter’s book, A Life Decoded as a Christmas gift…”

Some proof that I’m working in a lab again? I had 2 cups of coffee and a TRENTE black iced tea today. I have never ordered a Trente drink from Starbucks in my life. I literally went up to the barista (who was very kind and accommodating) and said “I want an iced black tea that is slightly sweet and is under $5.96 (the balance on my Gold Card).” He asked, “what size?” I said, “I don’t care. As long as it is under $5.96.” I think he sensed I was pretty exhausted so he said, “the largest would be $3.19“ I smiled and said “sounds great.” It turns out I actually had $5.94 remaining on my Gold Card – that’s how out of it I was – I was mixing up numbers. As a frame of reference, prior to working in this lab at UTD, my daily intake of caffeine consisted of one cup of coffee in the morning and was occasionally supplemented by a Diet Coke or Dr. Pepper in the late afternoon.

Here is a picture of the label I plan to affix to my very official lab notebook and the pen I will keep in the lab instead of always borrowing one of the graduate student’s pens. Hopefully this sends the message not to touch my stuff.

Can I get a virtual high-five for integrating a picture I took on my phone into this post, which was composed on my laptop?

I CANNOT believe I forgot to include this in my original post. I sincerely apologize because the following information is quite entertaining (in my completely unbiased opinion).

One of the main things I will do in this lab is cell culture, which I’m not very familiar with. I’ve had some exposure to cell culture but only via observation over a day or so. I’ve never been personally responsible for a “group” of cells.

So, I texted the PhD student I’m working under to make sure he had something for me to do before I ventured to the other side of campus where the lab is located. He said, “sure, you can pass cells.” Since I’m not familiar with the realm of cell culture, I didn’t know what “passing cells” meant or entailed. I thought I would enter the lab space with a joke to illustrate my lack of knowledge with cell culture. When the PhD student said “ok, let’s go pass the cells,” I responded “can we toss them?” It was SUPPOSED to be a joke in that instead of passing the cells (like moving/transferring them) we could “toss” the cells (as another method of transfer), like to their new location. I don’t think I’m doing a very good job at explaining this. Hopefully my joke doesn’t have to be explained. 

After I made my joke, the PhD student looked at me and, in a deadpan voice said “no.” I later learned that right before this interaction, the PhD student had a setback in his work, which I think put him in a bad mood. I also realized that he might have thought that by “toss,” I meant “toss (into the trash),” which would obviously not be good. Anyways, that was my poor attempt at science humor with something I’m unfamiliar with. Hopefully, this PhD student and I build a better relationship and he gets a better idea of how my weird brain works and my attempts to be funny.

No comments:

Post a Comment