An actual experiment – Tuesday 10th May

I started the week with my final Spring term Brilliant Club tutorial, and I spent yesterday morning (arrived at 8am) prepping. I should’ve done it at the weekend, but the amazing sunshine and a glass or two of Pimms lured me away from doing any work. I left at 12pm to catch the train to Melton Mowbray and had a great last tutorial with my students. I gave out some really fantastic marks (the best I’ve ever given!) so yesterday felt like a really positive day. I feel like I finally have this course set up in a way that works for the students and works for me as a teacher and that was reflected in the quality of their assignments. I caught the train back to Leicester and was back at the lab by 5pm to sneak in an hour of work before going home at 6pm. I didn’t do any lab work but I managed to get some bits and bobs done.

Today I arrived at 8:30am and wasn’t too productive before journal club at 10am. I mostly pottered around and prepared for the experiment I had planned for today. I melted agar and set up some cultures which meant when journal club was finished at 10:45am I could launch straight into lab work. While my bacteria were growing I was busy getting media ready and quantifying the DNA I planned to force fed them. The bacteria I work with are naturally competent, this means they can, in the right conditions, take in DNA from the environment and make it part of their own chromosome. I’m testing different strains to see if they are all equally as capable of doing this or if some are better than others. I have 6 strains to work with and I plated 3 dilutions of each so the numbers quickly add up.

I went for a quick lunch 12:15-12:45pm and my cultures were ready from about 1pm. Of course they weren’t all ready at the same time, that would be too easy. I ended up with them staggered over about 40mins. This is because I needed all the cultures to reach the same growth point before I could use them. It meant I was in the lab all afternoon until 4pm, because a soon as one job was wrapped up the next cells were ready to be dealt with. Eventually they were all plated and tomorrow I’ll have quite a lot of counting to do – fingers crossed I see a difference! Either way I’ll need to do two more replicates to confirm the result.

IMG_5044
All my plates in the incubator at the end of the day 🙂 

I used the last 1hour of the day to plate some bacteria for tomorrow, tidy up after all that experimenting and catch up on admin. I was planning to leave at 5pm but the weather was awful – eventually I made a run for the train station at 5:30pm but it just got worse, I wish I’d left earlier. By the time I got home, just after 6pm, I was absolutely soaked.

Tomorrow I’ll do it all again for replicate number 2, until then everyone, thanks for reading.

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