Archive for ‘Biology’

January 19, 2016

Tuesday Titters: Molecular Biology is the thing this semester

by Janie Jones

Why are molecular biologists fashionable? They wear designer genes.

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January 4, 2016

I am still here…

by Janie Jones

Fall semester held me in it’s miserable thrall up to the last possible moment.  I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped, but all things considered I did pretty well.  As I look at my grades I had to laugh.  Apparently I wasn’t allowed to get the same grade in more than one class:

Genetics Lab: A

Virology: A-

Genetics Lecture: B+

Biochemistry Lecture: B

Biochemistry Lab: B-

 

If it wasn’t for that cursed Biochemistry Lab being twice the work of all my other classes combined it would have been a very different semester, I tell you.

But, it is over and now I have 72 more class days left in the spring semester to endure before graduation.

The holidays were fun, but busy.  The spud visited which was nice, but exhausting.  And, right after taking her back to the airport it was a mad dash to finish off the essays for my Graduate School application.

Oh, that was fun.  Man o man, have I stories I could tell, only I’m so ripped to shreds by the last 4 months that I have lost the will to bitch.

In any event, it has been submitted and application fees are paid so it is out of my hands now.  The decision on whether I am accepted will probably come sometime by the end of March. Depending on the outcome I may graduate in May and be done with the collegiate chapter of my life, or I may decide I haven’t been totally and utterly annihilated by the educational system yet and pick up another 4-6 years.

And in the Lyme Research Lab we have been out of media (read bacteria food) for over 2 months.  Apparently there is only one place in the United States that makes the precise formula these bacteria live on, and they are, I guess, back ordered for some unfathomable reason.

I managed to scrounge up a couple dozen mLs from another researcher who didn’t need it and have had my little buggers on short rations this whole time.  But I have about two more feedings left (about 2 weeks) and then they starve to death.

You might not think this is such a bad thing.  But in a research lab, if you have no subject to research, well, you don’t get much done.  And, in general you don’t get paid to do nothing.  I volunteer, so what does that say about me.  Should I be worried?  Well, I kinda wanted to do my graduate studies with this lab.

Well here’s hoping 2016 is a better year.

December 23, 2015

A little biochemistry on the brain

by Janie Jones

You know you’ve been studying a little too much when you start seeing obscure science-y stuff in every day life.

Take this advertisement for boots I got in my email:

WINTER AND SNOW BOOTS

 

I don’t know why the company calls itself UGG Australia.  But after 16 weeks of biochemistry, genetics and virology, when I see UGG my mind immediately goes to the DNA sequence abbreviation for Uracil, Guanine, Guanine which is the codon for the amino acid tryptophan.  But that’s just me.

16 weeks earlier, my mind would just have gone from UGG to ugg-ly.  And that context is perhaps more fitting.

 

November 18, 2015

What’s the matter with you?

by Janie Jones

Due today:  Biochemistry lab report on the inhibition kinetics of lactate dehydrogenase.

Due tomorrow:  Rough draft of paper on the epistatic gene inheritance of GloFish.

Due Friday:  Rough draft of the presentation on the immune evasion properties of sGP in Ebola virus.

Monday:  Genetics exam on gene transcription, translation, operons and gene regulation.

Due next Wednesday:  Term paper on ten weeks of study encompassing seven laboratory experiments on lactate dehydrogenase and my final Ebola sGP presentation.

didi at typewriter

 

Oh, yeah.  And a bunch of other “small” homework assignments are also due between now and then.  If you find me either asleep on my laptop, or electrocuted from the tears of frustration and exhaustion I cry while I type, you will now know why.

November 7, 2015

Just call me Dr. Jones. Some day. Maybe.

by Janie Jones

So, today was a hallmark date.

I officially began my graduate school application process.  It took the better part of the day.  I had to dig up unofficial transcripts from high school and 4 different colleges I’ve attended over the years.  I had to fill out a ton of forms, write an essay about why I want to get my PhD, another about what qualities I would bring to the graduate school, and I had to send letters to people asking for recommendations.  Before I can complete my application I need to get my GRE scores and I need to get confirmation that the people who I ask for recommendations are willing to give them.  Then, I send $75.  If the graduate school thinks I am worthy, then I have to get all official transcripts from my high school and all the 4 colleges I’ve attended sent in.  After that, if my official transcripts confirm I’m still worthy, by April I should know if I will be allowed to torture myself for another 3-5 years in pursuit of my PhD.

It is sort of daunting.  I have to admit, there have been a lot of days in the past year or so when I have doubted whether I want to commit to more time in school.  I don’t really know what I’m getting myself into.  Most people say it’s tough.  Then again, calculus was tough.  Physics was tough.  I’ve been on the tough circuit this past couple of years.  I haven’t always performed as brilliantly as I’d have hoped, and I am quite tired.  As Forrest Gump would say, “I’m kinda tired.  I think I’ll go home now.”  But I have no home to go to, so I guess I might as well keep on running this race and, in just a few more years I could hold the ultimate academic title.  Knowing I am this close, I don’t think I could be satisfied with not going the full distance if the powers that be in the admissions office will let me in.

And I think they will.  I mean, I just have this feeling.  I hope it’s not bullshit, but I do think I could do well in graduate school.  I don’t know why I feel this way exactly.  I just really think this is what I’m supposed to do.  Sure, I don’t know everything.  I certainly haven’t maintained that A average.  But I have yet to give up, and science is 90% being too stubborn to quit even when you have no clue what you’re doing- yet.  That’s the beauty of being a scientific researcher.  You don’t have to know everything.  If you did, you wouldn’t have a job anymore.  Research in science is all about not letting what you don’t know stop you.  You learn along the way, and the more you learn, the more you realize there’s a ton you don’t know, and so you do more research.

And “we” don’t know a lot of things yet about Lyme disease and the bacteria responsible for it.  I can do a lot toward a doctoral dissertation studying them little bugs.

So, cross your fingers for me.  Pray I don’t have to blog 5 months from now that I’m a washed out, has been, PhD wannabe.

It would be way cooler if some day you could be telling all your friends you read the blog of the famous Dr. Jones who discovered a way to prevent Lyme Disease and cure chronic Lyme Disease back when she was a strung out, neurotic undergrad.

Heh.  Paging Dr. Jones….

October 25, 2015

Number of hours in the weekend: 48

by Janie Jones

Hours spent doing homework:  30.

biochem cry to sleep

October 16, 2015

Malapropisms

by Janie Jones

So this morning I attended my biochemistry lecture where we were talking about how nucleic acids form DNA, translating DNA and protein coding within genes.  After that I attended my genetics lecture where we were discussing chromosome inversions and how they can cause crossover errors during meiosis resulting in lost genes and non viable gametes.  And, now I have just finished my Virology lab where we were preparing unknown samples of virus for DNA analysis and headed down to work.  Once there I turned on my laptop for some tunes and the radio website asked if I wanted to change my genre preferences.

Only I thought it read change my gene preferences.

Considering I just spent most of the day in lab and class talking about DNA, genetic material and genes, I think it makes perfect sense that I’d read change gene preferences.  Don’t you?