Monday, August 18, 2014

What to do while everything is broken..

One of the large summer projects the university is undergoing is the full replacement of the roof of our building. This will be great when it is done as they are moving the fume hood exhaust unit from the space directly over our lab. However, at the moment it's been quite the thorn in our side. Last week, they cut a big section out of the roof and ended up dropping concrete slurry on the lab. This week, they are cutting out the big exhaust unit so the lab is full of squeals, bangs, bumps and thumps! Because they are cutting out the exhaust system, the fume hoods, the cold rooms, the warm rooms and all our growth chambers are deactivated for the rest of the week. Which means I cannot do protoplasts, plasmid preps, Western blots, or plant anything for future use. The only things I can do are qPCR and GUS assay's.

qPCR is the newest technique I am learning. It requires incredibly precise pipette skills.. which apparently I do not have! Pipetting one microliter is very hard. I get it right 90% of the time, but with qPCR it has to be 100%. You can see the wells you messed up right on the screen. The department has 1 qPCR machine.. and it was signed out before I got in today. Soooo that took qPCR off the table.

I had been planning on doing GUS while the qPCR was running so just move on right? Wrong. PI came to tell me that my soybean in the greenhouse were attacked over the weekend. Some sort of stinkbug got in there and was chomping them down. So the soybeans had to be treated with some nasty chemicals which means touching them to harvest leaves for GUS Assay was out.

That left me with plan C. Thankfully, I had brought the laptop for just such an occasion. I managed to get some journal articles read and wrote one experimental section for my PhD Proposal. This is how grad school can go, you have great plans and ideas laid out and then something happens so that you have to go to plan B or C or even D. This is why it is important to have lots of plans!

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