This one is way less exciting than the other two. I'm just bored and wanting to share my boredom with the interwebs.
It is official now, I am actually a grad student. I have a lab bench and a desk and everything. All I don't have is...anything to do today. I'll be plenty busy next week, but just not today. I even get to come in tomorrow morning (a SATURDAY, mind you) but just not today. Thankfully, one of the other grad students isn't in today (with the 3 day weekend coming up she decided to make it a 4 day weekend) so I can use her computer.
My project in this lab will be pretty interesting. To people who are interested in bacteriology. If you're not one of those people, skip down to the next post about me buying a ring for Kate. That's probably more your style.
So, for the faithful who stayed with me, I'll give a quick summary. Partly to enlighten you, but mostly because I'm friggin bored. Here we go:
Most bacteria can form biofilms. If you're really curious what those are, follow the link, but if not here's a working definition:
When a bacterial colony wants to dig trenches and settle in for the long haul, they form a biofilm.
That's about it. Biofilms make a convenient base of operations for the bacteria because they can fortify their position against antibiotics and the like, and they send out (basically) raiding parties to cause problems in other parts of the body. These raiding parties can be killed by antibiotics or by the immune system, but the biofilm itself, the base of operations, stays secure. This is the cause of most persistent, chronic infections.
I will be looking at factors that influence biofilm formation, either signaling the bacteria to form one when they usually wouldn't, or not to form one when they usually would. I'll be doing a high-throughput screen and test about 2,000 compounds...fun.
So, right now I am just proving that I am able to do the project, growing and measuring biofilms in conditions where they are supposed to form, and not growing them in conditions where they aren't supposed to. Which amounts to lots of sitting and waiting for the bacteria to grow. If you've ever watched grass grow or paint dry, this is very similar.
Man, I'm bored.
Here's my lab, thanks to the magic of Google street view