“It’s day four and tensions are rising!” was what Jenny said today, refering to Alan’s and my rising confusion and stress levels as we tried to finish the western blot and stain our gene knockdown cells all at the same time. Trying to remember what measurements applied to which liquids and what bits of the experiment we had and hadn’t already done was certainly starting to fry my brain and possibly Alan’s too.
Today we encountered a new room, the cold room (where we’d left the western blot membranes overnight) – this is literally a giant walk-in fridge. It was pretty cool (in both senses) until we realised to our horror that there was no panic switch. I can imagine how you’d feel if you accidentally got locked inside – it was so cold! We then got down to the serious business of preserving our HeLa cells in formaldehyde, and then washing it off countless times back in the lab. It was quite theraputic once you got into the rhythm of suctioning off all the liquid in the wells and then pipetting in some more.
After we finally got that done, it was back to the western blot and of course passing through the tardis down into the dark room! This time Alan and I got to have a go at making the images; I did a ten second one, and then Alan did a thirty second one. We discovered a very good way of counting time, as Jenny and I both realised I was counting to a beat – it was quite danceable, and we transformed the room into the dark room disco! 🙂 But only for thirty seconds. Alan was the only sensible one of us as we stared menacingly at the machine waiting for it to feed out the results.
Once again I’ve really enjoyed today, and tomorrow I’m hoping to interview Jenny and, with any luck, her colleage Oscar too for my extended project.
The special guests of the blog tonight! Allow me to introduce Spike and Tweet! Surely you can see Spike’s human-like qualities and Tweet’s uncanny resemblance to a (possibly psychotic) baby bird?