It has been a great week filled with learning and growing as a scientist! Even as a teacher, consider myself a lifelong learner. So, having the opportunity to strengthen my science skills and understanding has been tremendous!
In Dr. Xiao’s lab, We are working a project that is incorporating synthesized non-canonical amino acids (ncAA) (amino acids that are outside of the 20 that occur in nature) to enhance protein thermal stability.
So this week’s activities have included making various solutions, incubating, culturing and plating E.coli cells, sending plasmids samples out for sequencing, analyzing sequences of plasmids to look for incorporation of our mutant ncAA and comparing it to wild type amino acid sequences for the enzyme Beta Lactamase. There’s also many smaller steps in between, and in between each step, I am learning new procedures, calculations and mindsets.
And even though I have been teaching science for years, I had never done something as routine in a lab as using an autoclave. I learned how to operate one this week.
So all around, I’ve been learning lots, and look forward to learning even more in the weeks to come.
This is a picture of me plating a culture of e-coli cells. (And if you at all concerned about the open flame in the picture, don’t be! It’s to sterilize the ethanol soaked tool that we use to spread the bacteria culture onto the plate smoothly.)