Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Science: It makes me laugh, it makes me cry

Well, "cry" might be a bit dramatic, but it makes a point. Science is what I do, and it's what I want to do for the rest of my life, but it can bring out all manner of emotions!

Yesterday we had our weekly "Research In Progress" seminars. They caused me to chuckle, not once, but twice yesterday (which is quite something, as they are rarely what you would call "interesting").

Firstly, we heard a talk about two different diseases being studied with a mouse model. In these studies, 40% of the mice in one trial died. While this may not seem laughable (it isn't), it amused me when the slide stated that the study showed "40% morality" (these mice were clearly killed by the 60% without morals, according to a student in our lab)!

In the second talk the speaker put up her title slide, which read at the bottom:
"Joanne Blogs, Ph.D.
RIP - 10/02/07"
I guess she expected bad reviews!

So what about the crying? I've just finished trying to help one of our students with her protein purification. I say "trying", as I was unable to do much. In the lab we have two indentical pieces of equipment to purify proteins (FPLCs), which are fantastic when they work. One of them broke yesterday (it was sucking air into the system... very bad!), so our student used the second machine. These machines collect your protein in tubes, only this machine wouldn't progress beyond the 1st tube (if that)!!! After much anger and gnashing of teeth, we finally had to fire up the broken machine and pray for it not to suck air for long enough for us to get some protein. When we ran this machine, the protein was not to be found!!! Having given up hope, we cleaned the machine up to pack it away, only to find a protein-like peak flowing into the waste!!

While this has no impact on my own work, it truly is disappointing to watch a students first protein purification go down the toilet like this.

Tomorrow is another day, and with another seminar I'm hopefully of some more laughs!


Odyssey said...

"40% morality" is a good one.

I'm sorry to hear about the student's hard work going down the drain (literally). That sucks (also literally).

JollyRgr said...

That's blatant discrimination of the mouse ' moral minority'

Those immoral mice will pay!!!!