Archive for ‘Chemistry’

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.

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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 10, 2015

Just need to blow off a little steam…

by Janie Jones

My biochemistry lab is a total clusterf*%k.

In 12 weeks of class I have gotten out on time three times.  THREE TIMES.  And one of those three was technically 10 minutes late, but that’s not too bad.  Mostly I get out half hour to 40 minutes late.  My lab partner has a class right after so when things aren’t done, as they usually aren’t, I have to stay and finish by myself.  That doesn’t so much bother me as much as the general attitude of the teaching staff that it’s my duty to never have any other conflicts with staying late or coming back outside of scheduled class time.  They can’t be troubled to run the class in a do-able manner, but despite the fact they choose to run it in such an asinine way that no class ever is expected to be done on time, week after week, semester after semester, year after year, it’s apparently okay for me to be troubled to accept the impingement on my personal time.  It’s just run this way.  And the teaching staff doesn’t seem to give a damn.

My beef is that it’s not professional and down right disrespectful to expect us to drop everything else in our lives to make extra time for this work.  And, on top of it, we have a huge number of time sucking homework assignments for this class each week.  So not only do we have to make extra time for the classroom stuff that is impossible to finish, but we have to spend hours and hours and hours outside of class doing the bidding of the teaching staff.

I am especially ranty on this subject today because I had to stay an extra hour and 40 minutes today.  Plus I was given a take home test that needs to be done by 5pm tomorrow.  Like I had absolutely nothing else to fill  my time between now and then and now, on top of it, I have an hour and 40 minutes less than I expected to do the homework already on my to do list.  It’s like pouring salt into my wounded respect for you as a professional.  Would you, as a teacher, be willing to drop everything to spend an extra hour and 40 minutes plus God only knows how long this take home test will take, to do some thing someone told you to do at the last minute?  I seriously doubt it.

Here’s something to chew on jackass:

youre not the only teacher

Should I take the red pill and do the homework, or the blue pill and have a life.

93 days until graduation.

I’m applying to grad school why exactly?!?

November 4, 2015

Whimper

by Janie Jones

I spent two weeks on a complex lab procedure that was theoretically supposed to yield a visual representation of my success at isolating lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) from raw chicken breast muscle.  The process is a SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) procedure followed by Ponceau dying and then a Western Blot.

The idea is that the SDS-PAGE procedure separates the molecules you might have in your sample by size and, knowing the molecular weight of LDH, you can locate where it migrates to in the gel.  Then, you transfer the protein to a membrane and add the Ponceau dye which is supposed to allow you to see bands where various size molecules have migrated into the gel (which you have transferred to the membrane).  But then you remove the dye and add two antibodies.  One that binds specifically, and theoretically, only to your LDH, and the other binds to the first antibody and a chemiluminescent substrate.  The membrane can then be put in a special machine that can visualize the luminescent tag on the second antibody to prove the bands you see in your Ponceau dye are actually the LDH you hope to find.

Have I lost you yet?  Don’t worry.  I don’t understand it much either.

And this is proved by the fact that I just got my images back and have to write a report by noon tomorrow on this:

Ponceau image 2

This is my Ponceau image of my membrane.  See all those bands?

Me neither.  There should at LEAST be one band in each row.  But as there’s no bands at all I can’t even tell where the rows are.

And this is my Western Blot:

Western Blot image

Yeah.  So all those black smudges highlighted in purple?  Garbage.  There should be just one smudge in each of lanes two through seven.  So, maybe lane 7 has some LDH.  Or maybe not because obviously something is wrong as I have way more going on here than I should.

I just looooove when I put hours of work into something that didn’t work and I have no time to figure out why before I have to turn in a paper on it.

97 days of class until graduation.  97.

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?