Monthly Archives: July 2010


It’s been a little while, hasn’t it? Since that last post I have been utterly SWAMPED at work. The only reason I’m sitting at my desk this moment and able to type this is because someone else is currently using the hood. Which, of course, just means I’ll be here even later tonight. And it was already looking like a 8am-7pm kind of day. To top it all off, I got back my first set of PCR results, and it’s pretty much the opposite of what we expected. It may all be moot thanks to a vendor mix up. And the conference is next weekend, and I have no idea what I’m going to put on my poster or how in the world I’m going to explain these bizarre results. I. am. so. frustrated. If nothing else, this experience is teaching me that lab animal medicine is definitely right for me, and research is probably NOT.

Good news… um, let’s see. I spend two amazing weekends back-to-back in San Diego with my husband and in-laws. That was great. Despite all the crap with my research and poster, I’m going to have a blast in Georgia. Four of my closest friends will also be there, so I can’t NOT have a great time. At the end of August I’m spending over a week away from Davis, including some time in L.A. with friends and husband (and my birthday, which I’m not entirely thrilled about) and some time in Ohio with family. That will be great :)

Oh, the hood just became free. I wish I could continue to sit at my desk and waste time, but… I have to much to do.


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This and That

My lab work is going really well. The push is officially on to have data ready by the time I go to the conference in Georgia. It’s not necessary to have results by then, but it would be awfully nice. I have 300 (!!!) tissue samples to weigh and trim down to 25 mg, digest, and extract DNA from. Then I have to run each sample through real-time PCR. In triplicate. That’s 900 samples. Of course, once that is all done, I get to interpret the results and am expected to draw conclusions…. let’s just say that I’m not real hopeful of having concrete stuff to show in Georgia. But I’m going to try!! Today I weighed, trimmed, and digested 60 of the 300 samples, and will extract DNA from them tomorrow. :)

Also… I helped discover something pretty freaking cool in the lab. And my mentor/P.I. suggested that I submit an abstract to the ACVP (American College of Veterinary Pathologists) conference, being held in Baltimore, MD at the end of October/beginning of November. If I’m chosen to present this research, I will have to prepare a poster and my mentor said he will pay all conference/travel fees!!! Is that amazing, or what? I am so thankful to have him as a mentor… he really cares and wants his students to succeed. The abstract is due August 20th, and I’m really hoping they like it and chose it for their conference. It would be so amazing :)

Tomorrow after work I’m leaving to spend the weekend in San Diego with my in-laws (whom I absolutely adore). And tomorrow night after Scott picks me up from the airport, we’re going to a secret romantic dinner to celebrate our 2 year anniversary, which is Monday. I really need this little vacation away from Davis, and I’m excited to spend it in San Diego surrounded by loving family and my amazing husband.

Last night I got a new tattoo. I am absolutely thrilled with it :) I’ve been planning this particular piece for a very long time, and it turned out better than I ever imagined. The woman who did it is incredibly talented.

And before anyone asks, it’s a design from the liner notes of the NIN CD single for the song Sin. The inside is colored to look like rust, which was Scott’s brilliant idea. Love it :)

And with that, I need to sleep!! Lots of work to do tomorrow before I can leave the lab and head to San Diego!

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Yesterday, science was amazing. Today, it is extremely frustrating. Yay research…

Yesterday: I helped in the discovery of something pretty darn cool. In response, my mentor/P.I. suggested that I submit an abstract for the ACVP (American College of Veterinary Pathologists) conference, which is in October in Baltimore, MD. He said that if I was chosen to present this research at the conference, he would cover all of my conference and travel expenses. Yes, I have an amazingly supportive mentor :) Also, this will most likely lead to a publication, and I would be listed as one of the authors. Needless to say, I left work on cloud 9 yesterday, absolutely thrilled and with my head full of ideas about my abstract.

Today: After growing cultures for 5 days, doing 13 serial dilutions of antibiotics, plating everything and letting it incubate for 72 hours, I began my MIC analysis this afternoon. It did not go well. At the lowest antibiotic concentration there were only a few spirochetes, and those were nonmotile (most likely dead). This is not an expected outcome, and the guy in the lab that’s my go to for this experiment said that I needed to start over and redo the entire thing. Pretty disheartening, because I’m sure it was human error on my part somewhere along the way. So I started new cultures today, and hopefully it works this time around!

Now: I think I will go home.

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Busy busy busy…

It’s been a busy week!! Busy and pretty great :)

Saturday was a friend’s birthday, so she had a BBQ/pot luck that was a ton of fun. There was lots of yummy food (including a ridiculous birthday cake!), plenty of beer, card games, and laughter. It was a great time, and I’m so thankful to be hanging out with such great people over the summer. During the school year there isn’t as much time for purely social get togethers, and I was afraid that people would be too scattered over the summer, but that’s proving to not be true at all.

Sunday was the 4th, so a bunch of us met at the aforementioned birthday girl’s house to walk the few blocks to the park – much better than trying to battle the parking lots and traffic! People brought blankets and chairs and we found a perfect shady spot to lounge and spend the day. We had some disguised (and strong!) margaritas, otter pops, and I had a cheeseburger from one of the local high school sports teams BBQ fundraiser. When it was finally dark enough, the fireworks show started and I have to say I was very impressed. Especially for a small town in a state wrought with financial troubles. I love fireworks like a five year old, and these did not disappoint :)

Monday was a holiday (yay!), and some planned hiking got canceled so I stayed in all day. I’m very aware of the series True Blood on HBO, and some of my friends are huge fans. I know that they’re based on books, which I’ve heard are really good. So I downloaded the iBooks app on my iPhone, and purchased the first book in The Southern Vampire Mysteries. I started reading it, and when I went to bed many hours later, I had finished it and purchased the second book!! I’m (obviously) really impressed with them so far, they are well written with a lot of character development. And this may sound like blasphemy to some people, but they are infinitely better than the Twilight books (and yes, I can judge because yes, I did read those). They are what vampire books should be, with just enough of a modern twist. I’m almost done with book 2 (of 10), and want to start watching the series soon. Another awesome thing about summer – time for pleasure reading!

This week in the lab has been very busy. This is really the first time I’ve sat at my desk for more than a few minutes all week. I won’t bore you with all of the details, but this week has included mouse blood samples, examining Borrelia burgdorferi samples using dark field microscopy (so cool), starting a quite large MIC/MBC experiment, preparing a ton of horse samples for PCR analysis, running some samples with both conventional and real-time PCR, and doing necropsies this morning. And I’m LOVING it! Except for the stress and anxiety that comes with the fear of screwing things up, haha. So far, so good though. And today my mentor/P.I. took the entire lab out to lunch, his treat – so that was nice. And now I must go make some primers! :)

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Perfect placement

I have a really long day tomorrow. It involves waking up at ~5:30am, working in the lab until 5pm, then heading back to the lab for a collection at 8pm. I.e. – sleep is precious.

Just as I’m finally snuggled into bed, all cozy and ready to be taken away to dreamland, I hear that familiar sound. That retching, heaving, horrible sound of a cat about to vomit. My eyes snap open, and I realize that the sound is coming from under me. Just then, up it comes. It sounds like ten days worth of food. I groan, reluctantly throw back the covers, and get on my hands and knees. Sure enough, there is all of Samantha’s dinner and million gallons of post-dinner water (she’s on prenisolone – makes you thirsty)… in a lovely yellow pile. The kicker? It’s almost exactly centered under the bed. It’s like she planned it. Of course, I have no choice but to clean it up. But before I can even gather up supplies, I have to lock Tucker and Moo away. After all, that food is barely digested, it’s still perfectly good!! Ew. So then I grab the roll of paper towels, the Resolve, and a plastic bag. And I move the bed. This heavy, queen-sized mattress + box spring has to be moved pretty much across the room to give me access to the clean up needed. Ugh. I clean up the mess, let the scavengers out of the bathroom, and then proceed to move the behemoth of a bed (that’s how it felt, anyway) back to it’s proper spot.

Now I’m wide awake, with cleaning fumes circling in my head and my muscles all pumped and ready to lift more heavy things. Great. At least tomorrow is Friday…

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