Hello again from Baylor University!
Week six in the REU program has been a real test. This week, I faced some more frustrating lab results and have had to put my best problem-solving skills to work. Outside the lab, I have enjoyed the Baylor student life center and have started studying for the GRE so I can apply to graduate school in the fall!
The largest part of my week was spent in the lab working on getting my positive control to work properly. Since we were unsure about our previous attempt at creating mutations in the EcDnaB helicase, we decided to go back and restart the process from the beginning with a positive control I designed last week. The goal in this was to get the positive control to work properly so we could trust our results with the other mutations. I spent all week repeating all the previous procedures. On Saturday, I came in to check the results, and I saw we were not able to get good results from the positive. Because of that, I spent the rest of the weekend reading the literature to come up with a way to circumvent my mistakes and get the procedure to work.
In week seven, I will be trying to implement some of the things I came up with over the weekend in order to get the positive control to work. I will also focus on getting the negative control to work as well so I can move forward with the project and get the desired mutations. I think this is an important part of the research, as I can learn to grow as a biochemist from experiencing failures and challenging myself with tough problems. Although it is always nice when experiments work, there is also a lot to learn from the mistakes as well.
Outside of lab, I have spent a lot of time enjoying the student life center here at Baylor. I am trying to enjoy more things on campus while I am here, and the SLC is a wonderful place to spend time. I have played basketball, gone to the gym, and enjoyed the facilities. I look forward to seeing what else there is to offer and fully enjoying my time on campus here at Baylor.
Next week, I plan to spend a lot of time in the lab working on my problems as well as enjoying the SLC more and seeing more of Baylor’s campus. The school has a bear exhibit where the mascot is housed, and I plan to make a trip to see the bears this week as well. Once again, the program has been an amazing learning experience thus far, and I look forward to all that might happen this next week!