Week 1 Update

Hi everyone! I’m Aubrie, a rising sophomore physics major here at Gettysburg College. I’m excited to be working in Professor Andresen’s lab this summer for X-SIG and to work with my wonderful colleagues Macyn, Sofia, and Aston. My research is in collaboration with Macyn here at the beginning, and we will be researching the The Entropy and Enthalpy of DNA systems continuing from Tam’s work last summer. This past week we haven’t exactly started our individual projects yet, but we have started learning about the equipment available to us and how we might use it in conjunction with our research.

We started the week by learning proper pipette technique and practicing seeing our accuracy. It took some time, but I eventually was able to get the hang of it. I really struggled with the pacing of releasing the button, so I kept getting air bubbles in the tip which caused me to be under the expected amount. We also made salt stocks using NaCl and Cobalt Hexammine.

Tuesday involved us replicating an experiment that observed how DNA aggregates with Cobalt Hexammine. We learned how to make our DNA samples, put them through the centrifuge, and measured the concentration using the Nanodrop. We then added 20 microliters of Cobalt Hexammine and repeated those steps to see how DNA falls out of solution. We took a break in the middle to go for lunch at Food 101, but it was closed for renovations, so we ended up at Montezuma. I got the fajita burrito, and it was delicious.

We started Wednesday morning by making some DNA samples to use in the Circular Dichroism (CD) in the Science Center. We took an adventure to Prof. Buettner’s lab and got training on the CD, and later we ran our samples on the CD ourselves. I learned more about coding as well, and I feel a lot better about it already.

Thursday started out a bit rough. We were cleaning and ran out of water. A seemingly boring trip to get water ended up with a broken water jug and having to clean water off the floor. We were luckily able to borrow one from Prof. Thompson. Then we trained on the ICP with Prof. Andresen and that afternoon we trained on the ITC with Prof. Thompson. There is a lot to it, and we plan to replicate an experiment with it this week to see if we can get accurate results.

Friday was calm. I spent the morning reading a thesis from a former student and a paper that relates to it. I took some notes and googled a lot of terms. That afternoon we had personal meetings with Prof. Andresen to discuss how everything was going.

Monday has been pretty good. We started the morning with our group meeting, and I had some code issues, but it was a pretty easy fix. We discussed the best ways to read scientific papers as well. Macyn and I started a replication experiment with the ITC. Our first results were pretty rough, so we stopped the machine because we clearly made mistakes. Our second results were really good, and our third results were not consistent. We cleaned up after that one.

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