"The past two weeks have been getting down to business. I've been keeping longer hours, and I've put as little time as possible between scheduled experiments on my calendar. Last week I finally started my main project in earnest. Prior to this, I had been experimenting with my experiment -- 'dialing' in every last variable on my project to make sure everything would go as planned. I had many, many trial runs to see what worked and what worked even better.
This last week I produced my first 'final' results, which were notably better than any I had produced before for the iron chelation experiment I have been working on. My main experiment has me chelating iron from two different types of cells and looking at their reaction. The side-effect of having a project based on cells is that I got to learn how work-intensive cell culture really is. You don't just experiment on your subjects: you have to keep them alive and thriving too.
This next week holds the possibility of working with fish, which will be super exciting! I will also be finishing up my primary experiment with iron chelation. If it goes well, I may have time to do a follow-up experiment based on the results of my iron chelation experiment. The next experiment would still involve iron chelation, but it would be more targeted in applying my work to cigarettes. I will also be shadowing a surgery with a fellow Four Directions student. It will be my first surgery, so I hope I don't pass out!
My main experiment only comprises about half of what I do in the lab. I've been running and re-running a PCR for my post-doc. It hasn't worked after four tries, but it taught me a lot about science. I've also done DNA isolation, slide staining, and other activities that serve an auxiliary function in the projects of people in my lab.
Last week we had a marathon-length seminar on how to get into med school. I would be seriously disadvantaged if Dr. Sequist had not put all that information together for us. I had not realized how long and arduous medical school applications were.
If there is one activity you do in Boston, you should go to the Museum of Fine Arts. It is amazing. I went two weekends ago, but I only had a little time there. I want to go back again because there is so much there, including The Fog Warning by Winslow Homer! The Aquarium is also great -- be sure to watch an IMAX 3D movie there."
-2011 FDSRP Participant, Layton Lamsam