Thursday, July 3, 2008

One Tough Week For One Tough Girl

I worked extremely hard this week. Working virtually non-stop Monday from 6am-7pm and from 8-6 Tuesday through Thursday. I hit some experimental snags: RNA purities are still not consistently great, I ran out of stimulant in the middle of stimulating cells, and I realized, with the help of my PI, that the primer I was using for my most important gene has been a dud for the past few weeks . I was glad, however, that he thinks it's the primer and not me! In addition, my PhD student was out of the office the past 2 days, so I was wholly on my own to work hard, but not necessarily all that well. Today I sorted through my data trying to get it ready for my poster graphs. I still have many inconsistencies, such as the standard deviations aren't all that impressive. But, I haven't put it into graphs yet to look at the overall trend. The idea was to see which samples I should run again next week. After next week I am just going to use what data I have to work on my poster the following week. I will still have to run a handful of real-time PCRs again once my new primer comes in next week, so I really don't have much time left to keep repeating, unfortunately.

I do not know how people endure such frustration over 4-6 years. Ironically, I am almost relieved that this will end and I can go back to vet school. I will admit it has its' positive days when an experiment goes right, or a new trend is found. The worst part is repeating perpetually to get good consistent data, 3 separate times, for publication purposes. My mentor was hoping I would get there, but I am not so sure any longer.

Do not misinterpret! I am glad I had this experience. I have learned a tremendous amount about science, lab work, what goes into achieving a PhD, lab techniques, and important immunology related to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. I do believe, however, that my interest lies on the clinical side of things. Unless there is a career opportunity that requires a PhD that I just have to go after, I think this may be one path I avoid, at least for a while.

I am not sure biological research is my strong suit. Of course, I still have just under a month to change my mind.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

hey michelle!

Qiagen make an RNA purification column that we use up here... maybe that would help?