Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Project: Students!

"Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse" - Murphy's Law perhaps?

9.00 am...
Our eager undergraduate project students arrived today, lab books and calculators in hand.  "Do we get a protocol?" I was asked.  Not exactly, was my response.  Blank stares rapidly turned to fear as I explained the purpose of the following few months. 

Their mission was to produce Matrix Metalloproteinase domains from a DNA construct provided.  I had begun a similar project two years before and was aware of the culture shock.  They would have full ownership of the project, responsibility for outlining the methodology and management of their own time.

9.30 am...
Starting simply, we began with simple buffers and a few concentration calculations.  This in itself generated scratching of heads and a sweaty brow or two.  

10.15 am...
Lumps of Tris Base began dissolving, swirling around on the magnetic stirrer.  Adjust pH with hydrochloric acid I advised.  

11.15 am...
Tris still swirling.

12.00 pm...
I have a peek at my old project lab book.  My first experience of making LB bacterial media was traumatic at best.  "Error in calculation, LB re-made" my scribbles shout from the worn pages. 

I'm reminded that we all have to start somewhere and with a little support and some good advise, great things happen.

1.00 pm...
The hustle and bustle in the lab continues.  The Tris solution has been made and labelled, the project students are hunched over their lab books making notes.

I'm feeling positive.



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