At the beginning of August, Nene and Sarah took over the college's snapchat. Here is their video!
The past two weeks flew by! We're finally getting the hang of imaging biofilms. We couldn't have made it this far without the help of Dr. Sherman Hendrix (GBC Emeritus) and Dr. Titilayo Shodiya (University of Michigan). Sarah's SEM images are at the bottom of this post.
Nene is "plugging" away on the pulse field gel project. She's been making agarose plugs, lysing cells, and running gels non-stop. We're slowly but surely making improvements to our protocol. Nene has isolated what we think is a large linear plasmid from Microbacterium oxydans. She's working on optimizing the agarose plug protocol so we can get a nice clean band. Check it out below!
These are Sarah's latest SEM images below. These look much better than the images we posted last week. Sarah included alcian blue in the primary fixative and let the samples air dry for 2 days after hexylmethyldisilazane drying. We still have to figure out how to get rid of those pesky horizontal lines at higher magnifications. If you have suggestions, please leave them in the comments!
This summer Sarah and Nene are participating in the X-Sig Summer Research Program sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
This is week 1 for Nene. She is our resident pulse field gel expert, and her main task this summer is to isolate and characterize plasmids from environmental bacterial samples. She's just getting ramped up, but over the coming weeks she will assist the with the testing of the replication run-off model by analyzing double strand break generation with PFG.
Sarah is wrapping up week 3 and has made a lot of progress. This summer, her main goal is to test a model that implicates the Escherichia coli replication fork in the generation of double strand breaks following quinolone treatment. If I lost you in that last sentence, don't worry - next week Sarah will explain her project in more detail.
In addition to testing the replication run-off model, Sarah is helping with the biofilm project that Amanda Finck started last year. Last Tuesday (June 14th), emeritus professor Sherman Hendrix came to campus to teach us how to use the Scanning Electron Microscope. After our SEM crash course, Sarah began troubleshooting the fix & dehydration protocol, trying to make it biofilm-friendly. We had quite a bit of fun with equipment that we don't get to use everyday.
Instead of keeping the planning stages to myself, I shared them with my students. I hope this gives them a better understanding of what I expect from them throughout the course.
Amanda and Kelly are in the first week of their summer research experience. They're working on different projects but they are really getting the hang of collaborative work. Experiments are usually easier with 4 hands rather than 2.
While we're working hard, we're also enjoying visits from other labs! Watch the video below to find out which professor is hiding out in our lab!
Spring 2015, I received the Mentoring in Active Learning and Teaching Award sponsored by the American Society for Cell Biology. I partnered with Drs. Erin Dolan and Peggy Brickman, and we submitted a proposal that facilitated our collaboration as I designed a new first year seminar focusing on genetic technology.
My students have a change of heart about group work...
Nene Sy and Amanda Finck join the lab.
This semester I'm teaching Microbiology - both lecture and laboratory. The semester is off to a good start. The Health Sciences & BMB majors came prepared with their scientific A-game!
In lab, students are working on the MyMicrobe project developed by Dr. Jennifer Powell (Gettysburg College) & Dr. Nora Sullivan (Claremont College). This project walks them through the process of isolating and characterizing microbes from their skin. Talk about getting personal!