Thursday, February 26, 2009

Some Science-y Images

I haven't really had much time lately for fun extraneous stuff (like blogging), but I figured I have some time before I go to Boston so I might as well show something.

Larry is presenting at Biophysical society so he called on yours truly to create a bunch of graphics to accurately represent our science. Below are a few figures from the poster for your pre-viewing pleasure.

This first image quickly details my aspect of KochLab. That is the molecular biology aspect of the lab. The green blobs are yeast chromosomes, and the cleaver is a restriction endonuclease.

This next image is used to diagram the different aspects involved in unzipping DNA, namely that one has to deal with base-pairing, single stranded DNA (ssDNA), and double stranded DNA (dsDNA).

I made the next image to demonstrate how the optical tweezers will function. As you can see, the DNA is attached to a microsphere in an optical trap. This interaction is through bonding between streptavidin (on the sphere) and biotin (embedded in the DNA). On the other end, the DNA is affixed to a glass surface because of the specific binding of dig (on the DNA) and anti-dig (on the glass). This setup is made possible by the use of Koch's anchor DNA. It is created from dsDNA with a nick. The dig is on one side of the nick and the biotin is on the other. This short segment of DNA (an oligo) is ligated (attached) to a fragment of DNA that a user would want to inspect, in our case yeast genomic DNA. And that is as good a quick description of the process as you are going to get.

If you are going to be at the Biophysical Society Meeting, come check out Larry's poster (Lawrence Herskowitz) and admire our very cool science (and my sweet images).

Monday, February 2, 2009

My First Bio Lab Experience

I feel like a boy on his first date. As the whirlwind of stuff that I must learn in the coming months is quickly explained to me I wonder to myself, "This is a nice place. I can envision a continuing collaboration with these folk. I can't wait to settle down and become a more permanent fixture. I don't want to meet her dad though..." Whoops wrong side of the analogy.

I don't want to start making assumptions (I may end up hating biology), but the atmosphere is very nice. I think I just need to take it slow.

First things first, keep everything clean! This is going to be the hardest part for me to get used to. That and not dropping everything. Despite my pretty good hand-eye coordination, I am pretty clumsy. I am also forgetful which makes the sanitizing part difficult. I am organized though so that should be pretty useful.

I do have minimal experience in a wet lab setting. At KochLab, we will perform minor bio-prep for experimentation on the microscope and that I have done many times. The procedure we follow is called tethering and the protocols we employ can be found on the wiki (too lazy to link). Everything that I am currently embarking, however, is completely new. I am going to have to learn to run in this lab. It is a good thing that Kelly has decided to mentor me in the techniques needed for this project.

I hope all goes well and I do become a more permanent fixture of this lab (Osley). More to come.
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