Posts in: BY359

Exactly one week to go!

Happy Wednesday!  We’ve made it half way through third week.  I’d have to say that this week has gone by pretty quickly so far, which is great! We have exactly one week left of the block.  Next Wednesday is the last day.

I can’t believe how quickly this block has gone by!  It feels like just yesterday we were starting our first lab and now we are finished except for counting the bacteria on the last plates we have.  Once we finish that all we have to worry about are three things.  Our Laboratory Research summary, out last test, and our grant proposal presentation.  It makes the end of the block not seem so far away, which is amazing.

I’ve really enjoyed this class and the people in it.  It has been extremely interesting learning about how bacteria work and survive and getting to do research type work in lab. Today we learned about this really cool bacteria Aliivibrio fischeri, which can produce its own light.  These bacteria live in  the bobtailed squid.  The squid is nocturnal and at night it detects the amount of moonlight.  Depending on how much light there is determines how much it will open its light organ where the bacteria live and produce light.  This symbiotic relationship helps the squid not cast a shadow and this protects the squid from predators. It’s pretty awesome!  This class has been a great block 4 class to take before break.  I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in biology and or learning about bacteria.    Plus Phoebe is a great professor!

As the block winds down there are many other things that we have to do before we leave campus for break.  We have to clean our rooms really well, for end of the semester check out and pack up everything that we need to take home for the break.  All of this extra work will make for some nice breaks from studying and finishing class work.

Once Wednesday rolls around next week everyone will be heading out to get home for winter break and campus will slowly shut down for a while with a little less hustle and bustle.

This will most likely be my last post for the block.  This was a really fun opportunity to have for the block.  I enjoyed having the chance to share about the class with anyone who reads this.  As the block winds down and people head home for break I hope that everyone finishes the block strong and have safe travels to where ever winter break may be taking them!

Here Comes 3rd week!

Third week, the last full week of the block is here.  It usually goes by the slowest of all the weeks.  I have a feeling though that this block third week might not go by as slow as some others, mainly because we still have a fair amount of lab work to finish.

It snowed for the first time this year today! It makes having to study for a test tomorrow a little more tolerable compared to the unusually warm days we have had lately.

We have our second test tomorrow and the second stage of our grant proposal is also due by 10pm.  I’m sure the test won’t be too difficult because Phoebe gives us great study guides to prepare us for exactly what she might ask.  It is really nice to have a professor that does that because it makes studying for the test a little less stressful.

On another note, my lab partner and I only have 4 more labs  to finish by the end of the week and then we will be all done with the exception of our research summary.  We also still need to look as our bacteria under a microscope to see if they are shaped differently than the wild type control.  If I can take a picture of what they look like when we look at them I will post a picture in my next post!  I think it will be really cool to see what they look like because I have never had the chance to look at bacteria under a microscope.  I’m really excited for this opportunity.

Well I guess I should get back to studying for the test! Hopefully it goes well for everyone in my class! Wish us luck!

Happy Wednesday!

Well it’s already half way through second week, meaning we have exactly 2 weeks left in the block now!  Only 2 weeks till winter break, a long much-needed break from school. I’m really looking forward to it after taking two lab classes in a row. Lab classes really have a way of wearing you out.

We had our first test on Monday this week.  It wasn’t too bad, but the first test of every block for me at least is usually a learning experience.  It gives me a chance to get to know how I can change my studying for the next test and how the tests are generally structured.  We still haven’t gotten the results back yet, but I’m sure we will soon. Having tests on Mondays always somehow make the rest of the week go by a lot faster.

Lecture in class is always extremely interesting and without fail, some piece of technology doesn’t work correctly, but Phoebe continues through lecture occasionally attempting to correct the failure. Oh the perils of technology.  It seems like everyone I know has had some sort of trouble with some piece of technology this past week. It’s crazy.

This week we have discussed how bacteria make the products that are required to build specific structures.  It is amazing how much it differs from how humans make the products necessary for structure and survival.  Most of what we know about how bacteria do this is still not completely understood.  What I am learning is that there is still a lot of research that needs to be done on bacteria to figure out how they work.  This is intriguing because it means that there must be a lot of job openings out there in this field that could benefit us college students as we graduate in the upcoming years.

We have done a variety of labs this week continuing the research we started last week on our ADP1 mutants.  On Monday we prepared our heat and cold stress test.  This test is used to see if the mutants are able to grow under different temperatures.  It was a pretty interesting test, because we obtained growth at 20 degrees celsius which I wasn’t expecting , but after realizing that 20 degrees celsius is 68 degrees farenheit, I soon realized it wasn’t that cold.  It makes sense that they would be able to grow at about that temperature.

Tuesday we set up our UV light sensitivity test to determine what dose of UV light would kill the bacteria the best.  Upon examining our results today, we realized that not even the highest dose significantly killed the bacteria. I thought that was pretty amazing because it was suppose to damage their DNA and kill them at a high dose.  It sounds pretty mean to be killing the bacteria, but we can always get more to grow because the grow so quickly.  One of the graph’s we made it called a Kill Curve and if anyone were to just hear us discussing a Kill Curve outside of class they might be a little concerned.  My lab partner and I laugh about it all the time.

Today we did our second Twitching Motility test and are still waiting on results for that test.  Tomorrow we will be performing our second Growth Curve trial and hopefully will get some similar results to our first test. I also hope that it won’t take nearly as long as the first trial.  Mainly because I have an IM Basketball game tomorrow night. It’s kind of a big deal because we have to win otherwise we are out of the tournament.  So I need to be there.  I have a feeling though that this trial will go faster due to some adjustments made by Phoebe.

Only  two more days till the weekend and only one more day of lab for the week!

The End of the First week!

Wow I honestly can’t believe it is already the end of the first week of block 4!  Time flies when you’re having fun in a lab class. But really this week flew by.  That always seems to happen the first week after block break though.  This block I am taking Bacterial Genetics and Physiology.  It is an upper level elective for Biology, and Biochem majors.  We have 8 people total in class this block.   It is the smallest class I have had ever at CC and it is great!

We have covered so much information about Bacteria this week! For example,  did you know that Bacteria help form rain clouds because they produce sulfate?  Well I definitely didn’t until this past week. This is the reason they seeded the clouds in China before the Olympics to make it rain.  Cool huh?   Bacteria can also help clean up sites that are toxic to animal and human life.  It’s a process called Bioremediation and it was used after the BP oil spill.  The bacteria were able to use the oil as a source of fuel and help clean up the oil spill.  It’s amazing to think that something that we can’t even see without a microscope can have such a huge impact on all life.  I mean microbes live pretty much everywhere on the planet and participate in so many cycles on Earth it’s unreal. But, don’t freak about them living everywhere because a lot of them are harmless to humans and animals and actually use us to survive.  So don’t think you have to constantly sanitize everything just because bacteria live everywhere on earth.

Not only are we getting to learn about all the cool things bacteria can do, we  have also been given the chance to do some hands on research in lab of mutant  strains of a soil bacteria ADP1 (bacteria with deletions of specific genes). The mutants are strains that Phoebe studies in her lab here on campus.  We each have been assigned a mutant to work with for the block and are working with a partner.

On Wednesday we each tested our mutants for ,twitching mobility, their ability to move in soft agar.  This took about 5hrs! The nice thing is you don’t have to stay in the lab for this.  You can just leave the plates in the incubator and come back and check on them after 3hrs.  You can see a photo of our plate below! The red circles show how much the bacteria moved over those 5hrs. Amazing right?

Thursday was an extremely long day.  We were monitoring growth rates of our mutant strains and this process can take up to 12hrs.  Luckily, Phoebe is great and didn’t want us to be in the lab all night so she lessened the amount of time we needed  monitor the growth rate!  We started at 10am and finished at 7pm.  Let me tell you waiting for bacteria to grow is a long process with a lot of down time.  My mom said “Oh so your basically watching grass grow” when I talked to her on the phone, but trust me they grow faster than that.  I thought it was pretty amazing to see how much the number of bacteria increased per hour even though it took FOREVER!  My lab partner  and I were so happy we had finished at 7pm that we gave each other a high-five upon leaving the lab.

We still have a lot to learn in the upcoming weeks, but I’m enjoying the long lab hours because It gives us time to bond as a class and talk to each other about a lot of pointless and random things.  It’s also nice to know you’re not alone in the lab. In the meantime, the first stage of our Grant Proposal is due on Monday and we have our first exam at 10am on Monday as well. Wish us Luck!!!