Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Moving Up on the Half-Way Point

Today officially marks the halfway point of Summer@Brown for all the 3-week programs. Breakfast was the same and in the lab, we only continued from where we left off at yesterday. We had tubes which we added competent cells to and combined them with different solutions. We then incubated them in ice for 20 minutes, heat-shocked them in a 42 degree Celsius water bath, and chilled them for another minute. The cooler part of the lab was actually getting the antibiotic plates. Using sterile technique, we immersed a metal tool, called a cell spreader, and immersed it into a beaker of ethanol then briefly passed it through the open flame of the Bunsen burner. The cool part about this was that the tool actually ignited itself for a few seconds as it was being sterilized. Further protocols included suspending the actual mixture of competent cell and solution liquids and spreading them onto the plate itself and resterilizing the cell spreader for each of the 9 antibiotic plates we added the liquids to.

Part of the class was going back up for classroom discussion. We discussed the probability of bacterial growth for each of the plates but were thrown a curveball, that we don't exactly know if some of the antibiotic resistant solutions were actually the ones they were said to be. In that case, we have to be attentive, observational. and expecting of unexpected results. Other than that, Jody just gave us a brief idea of what more there was for tomorrow.

Back in the lab we stacked the plates in the bundle and put them away, as they were set aside to be placed into a 37 degree Celsius incubator for 15-20 hours (basically until tomorrow morning for the next part of the lab). Class was over and lunch was next on the schedule.

A short while after the group and I had lunch, Jody was supposed to have her office hours. I knew that I'd likely get lazy if I would've decided to go back to the dorm, so Jing and I just made our way to the Sci-Li. Jody arrived and the 3 of us were ready to get some work done. After having my final considerations of researching gene therapy for eczema, Jody suggested SCID, or Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. As named, it's an immunodeficiency disease that has a few causes, which I have yet to choose and decide on researching. As cheezy as it may seem, I'm really glad I talked with Jody. I think it's safe to say that taking initiative or the first step in doing something is the more difficult part about doing something- or it might not. For whatever the case of matter may be, I took my first step in beginning my research, so I'm well on my way on researching (it sounds so collegiate, but it's pretty cool)! Along the way came other students, who also addressed their questions with Jody, while I began to some more research on SCID. When everyone had left and I was just finishing some research, I shared my questions regarding the complexity of SCID, particularly the different ways that it may be caused. One way can be an issue due to adenosine deaminase deficiency, which doesn't allow for a certain biochemical reaction; the other, that it may be a result of a structural mutation with the gene IL-2. Putting it into context, I'll be looking into the good, the bad, the hopeful, and the ugly about gene therapy for SCID. Another thing about office hours was that Jody and I were able to talk more about Brown, our interests, and other ranging topics. At one point I introduced her to chayotes, which are a Latin/South American crop that my dad grows back at home and other things like cooking. A bit off topic, but in all, it was a pretty interesting conversation and I think it's something on the cooler side of going to office hours.

After office hours, I had dinner and then went to a session for time management. I think I have the hang of it now, so I'm probably not going to be attending that one again. I actually wanted to go to a healthy living one, but I was caught up at office hours, which is completely fine since I really enjoyed it and learned too. I made my way back to the dorm to chill for a few minutes and charge my dying phone before heading out the the next program/session, which was The Right College for You. Natasha Go, Assistant Director of Admission at Brown, went over information such as considering location, trying to visit the schools, aiming at different ones, looking into financial aid, and considering the campus/region/setting. It was more or less what I've heard before, but going into my junior year of high school, I just know that I have to step my game up this upcoming year with the 3-4 AP classes I'll be taking, being president of the Richmond High Red Cross Club, and beginning on the college application process with all the essay work and such. To some, a piece of cake; others, impressive; but for me, a challenge. On that note, I'm going to be heading to bed, in hopes of at least a restful 8 hours of sleep before another long day tomorrow, with our last class for the week and officially final dinner for the Brown-I cohort (which sucks, but oh well). It should be a good day before the 4th of July! If the prospective hurricane doesn't hit too hard or goes away in time, we may and hopefully will be able to hit the beach and go to the other planned weekend activities as well. Should be good, but I'm going to head off to bed now. Goodnight!

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