Back to lab work – Tuesday 22nd Sept

Today I finally got some real lab work done, after what feels like weeks of being too busy for lab work. It took me a while to get started but once I did it felt really good to tick some lab work off my to do list 🙂 .

I arrived at 8:45am after making a brief detour for coffee and with a lab meeting loaming at 10am I was in the lab by 9am. This morning I set up some cultures for DNA extraction later in the day and poured a gel to run out a PCR I ran overnight. I set my gel running on a low voltage just before the lab meeting at 10am and off I went. One of our first year PhD students was practising her first year talk (it’s happening next week) so we listened and then tried to offer any helpful suggestions. Everyone often has their own opinion in these situations so our meeting ended up lasting until 11:45am! After the meeting I had a quick Twitter and email check and then spent between 12-1:30pm designing some new primers as well as some replacement primers for PCRs that aren’t working. I have one new mutant to make and two others in various stages of construction.

At 1:30pm I went for a quick lunch, and also delivered some home grown chillis to the boss (he cooked with them this evening and they’ve been approved 🙂 ). I was back at my desk by 2pm but not for long as I then spent the afternoon in the lab. My gel this morning showed my overnight PCR had been a big, fat fail and I needed to work out why. The primers were nearly identical to ones that had previously been working so it didn’t make any sense.

failing in STEM

Turns out it was really easily fixed, I remembered the order had a mistake (my fault) and two different primers had the same name. Double checking their sequences I realised I’d used them the wrong way round (there are two separate PCRs on this gel), so my primers were doing -> -> rather than the much more productive -> <- . I set up a new PCR (with the primers the right way round!) and fingers crossed tomorrow I’ll have some useful bands 🙂 .

I spent the rest of the afternoon extracting DNA and setting up growth curves before I left at 5:30pm. I had a 1hr incubation as part of my DNA extraction protocol so I used that to FINALLY write up my lab book. This was a job I’ve been neglecting (all my work is documented just in a more bitty way). I actually did this at my bench rather than at my desk as sometimes  find it much less distracting.

Unfortunately I got a text to say the plate reader that was measuring my growth curve had failed not long after I left 😦 . Oh well, that’s life – tomorrow I’ll try again.

P.S. This evening we spent a really fun 30mins putting our old sofa out on the curb as it’s being collected by the council tomorrow to be recycled. You’d think a scientist and an engineer could deal with how to angle a sofa to get it out of a door but it took us a while! We did however get there in the end and here’s the proof …

It wasn’t looking good
SUCCESS! (and a picture of my rarely spotted engineer 😉 )

Until tomorrow everyone, thanks for reading.


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