Honestly, both of these weeks were full of so much of the same things, that after I wrote a week 5 update it didn’t feel like enough information to actually post an entire post. So I decided to combine both of them together. Sorry if these are short or particularly boring (the weeks themselves felt short and particularly boring), but alas, this is a part of science as well.
The 5th week went by so fast I don’t even remember half the things we did. It was mostly focused on finishing up our poster (which is starting to look very professional if I do say so myself) and getting all our data together. We spent absolutely for-ev-er scanning all the slides we have ever done IHC on, and even longer going through them all to look for pictures good enough for our poster. And we started to actually write out what was going on our poster and our papers. And we had to redo all the things we messed up last week. And loads and loads of data analysis. Plus, Alexa had to leave early this week for a conference, so we’re on our own for the next week.
But on Monday, we redid that spectacular failure of a protein assay and thankfully this time it was much better. We did the data analysis for it too and used this fancy GraphPad software to do all the statistics and everything. We got the results we expected, which was good, and we’re trying to look for more samples to possibly add to the graph. (Right now we only have 1 day, 3 day, and 28 day values, we really want 7 day and 14 day.)
On Tuesday and Wednesday, we had reserved the VS120, which is this very fancy, verrrrrry expensive scanning microscope that scans the slides at very high resolutions but takes absolutely forever to scan the slides. So all of Tuesday we sat with the machine, and while it scanned we counted cells (not for our project) and I finished up some writing and more college stuff. Wednesday we did some more assays (also not for our project) and analyzed that data. Plus we started to look at the scans the VS120 had taken and started to pick areas and take pictures. This was a lot more frustrating and time-consuming than I thought because we had to make sure we could see enough macrophages, the spot was stained properly, the contrast was good, and all sorts of technical stuff.
On Thursday, Alexa helped us decide what we would put on our poster, and how to format it, and everything like that. We wrote up our introduction, took some more pictures, and figured out everything we still had to do to tie up all the loose ends for our data. (We were missing a lot of 7 day IHC samples.) We got slides cut for all the IHC that we’ll do next week (so many antibodies we need to do) and everything finally started to come together.
Friday, Alexa had to leave early because of the Gordon Research Conference, where she was going to be presenting, so we finished up with some pictures that didn’t scan properly the previous days, and took the afternoon off. Next week is the last full week we have to prep everything for our poster and presentation and paper, so it’ll be hectic, especially when we don’t have Alexa around (or literally anyone actually, everyone is going to that Gordon Conference).
This 6th week was a pretty short week, we were mainly focused on catching up with our data points and putting everything together. I finally finally got started on my paper, and thank god the deadlines were pushed back.
Monday and Tuesday were completely dedicated to tying up the loose ends for the IHC we needed for the figures for our poster and paper. We needed to do IHC on 18 more slides (ugh I hate doing IHC on these many slides, and even though I told myself I would never do it again, here I was, doing it out of necessity). It turned out better than the last time, except for the iNOS ones, which was also the ones messed up last time, so now I’m thinking it might just be a problem with the antibody. But regardless, we did that all of Monday and most of Tuesday.
The rest of Tuesday was spent on doing PAS (periodic acid-Schiff) staining and tying up those loose ends as well. That’s (thankfully) a much faster procedure than IHC and we only had 3 slides to do it on.
Wednesday was another day we had to spend at the Liberty Science Center for a workshop. Usually, these are pretty useless and boring (not gonna lie) but this time it was actually a lot of fun. It was my third time meeting these people, and I had a group of friends I hung out with and had lunch with and everything, and it was much more natural to hang out with them, rather than trying to force ourselves to have a conversation. Plus there was a fire (drill?) like the second we finished lunch so the group of us got stuck with our lunch trays in the parking lot and it was so much fun XD That’s one of the reasons I can’t wait for college. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends right now to death, but I’ve never really had the environment where everyone in my group is sort of at that level and on the same page and everything. I just really like being around people that are similar to me (weird, awkward, slightly socially inept, laugh at nerdy jokes, those type of overachievers), which is especially why the selectivity of a college is important to me. I dunno, maybe I’m being weird and introspective, but I really like that group of kids and will honestly miss them after this summer.
But enough of that. I took Thursday off, cause I met with the new principal (!!) of my school with the rest of Student Council, which was fun. (I’m so excited for this year to start.)
Friday, my lab partner took the day off, so I spent the morning scanning as many slides as I could. I only got through like 7, but it’s better than none. We’ll finish off the rest next week. Then I had to transfer all the figures we had so far on to our poster so I could send it to Alexa who could send it to our PI, Dr. Laskin, so she could look it over and give us pointers or tell us if she wanted to change anything. Well, that took absolutely forever because the formatting was a nightmare and the pictures were refusing to group and the text was changing fonts and ugh. But I got whatever we had on there, so at this point, we’re like halfway done with our poster.
I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but this is the title of our project: Acute versus Chronic Inflammation Following Pulmonary Injury. (Sadly we were limited to like only 60 characters or something). We actually decided to go broad and just focus on nitrogen mustard in general, and the macrophage response to NM. And we included gadolinium chloride in there as well. We were also thinking of including the NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis - a type of fatty liver disease) cross-communication with the lung project, because we worked on that project with Dr. Gow’s lab as much as we worked on the gadolinium, but I don’t think we’ll include it, just because the two aren’t really related and it turns into two very separate projects.
But because next week’s update will also be short (because next Thursday is our presentation at the Liberty Science Center Symposium), I’ll go into more in-depth about my project, and what our results and conclusions were. And I’ll include my abstract.
But for now, these were two very short weeks, and I can’t believe the summer’s almost over.
Thanks for reading!