Works and Days

Off Quad Rule: Part 7

A dirty filter.


The picture to the right is a PSA to remind people to always use protection and filter. Gross, am I right? This week has been filled with me fiddling and peddling around the lab, sometimes in the dark due to the power outage that plagued the research labs and hospital facilities. There is a lab evaluation next week so I won’t have as much time to work on my project and write out as many quick notes and passages to you. It seems that when you need everything to work perfectly it breaks down and throws a tantrum. The HPLC and GC-MS, gas chromatography mass spec, machines are having quite a fit. It’s like the power outage woke up a bunch of cranky toddlers, and believe me, dear reader, they are not crib happy.


Injera with Dora and Sega Wat

This week I am back to stimulating G-proteins in lymphocyte cells, and I will be the next week and the next week. There is not a lot to report on this front, I am simply running a forskolin curve to measure cAMP response at varying concentrations to find a range of working doses, i.e. cAMP producing molarities, that I can apply later. So far things are going well, however there are going to be a few setbacks since I was centrifuging some blood samples when the power went off. Luckily, all the centrifuge tubes remained intact with the contents only slightly sloshed and flustered.


Dark image of lab equipment.Figure 1. Working in the dark. I wasn’t stoked to leave my live cell cultures alone in the dark, so I didn’t evacuate for the first 40 minutes after the power outage (Don’t tell my parents.). First of all, you should never stay in the lab when the power goes out because the fume hoods stop working and it is somewhat dangerous… Do as I say, not as I do.



This last part of the week I’ve been able to learn more about the mechanics of the machines I’m using, having to reset a bunch of them since their internal wiring got a touch scrambled after the sudden electricity outage. Aside from that I have been steadily reducing the amount of unlabeled stock solutions and cataloguing my own samples for the upcoming inspection.


Orderly workspace with vials and a dropper.Figure 2. Of course I’m working! What does it look like I’m doing? Yes, my workbench is always pristine like this… I love having a neat workspace; using space efficiently is like breathing for me. If any of you have ever been to my dorm room or seen my lab drawers in chemistry you know how there’s a specific slot for everything. Thanks for letting me toot my own horn, kind and enduring of you.


Tej and Dabo Kolo

What I have learned or been reminded of so far:

1. Bunsen burners may cast a soft romantic light in the lab and make your stocks of clean glassware look beautiful in the dark, but you really shouldn’t have open flames when the fume hoods aren’t working. Resourceful of you, third floor interns, but also potentially deadly.

2. Label everything as you go, it’s a real bother to come back and not remember if you had been placing your serial dilutions lowest to highest or highest to lowest in the test-tube racks.

3. Seriously. Evacuate when necessary.






Emma ('16)

Tags: biology, chemistry, internship