Blast Off to Beating the Burnout

It is day 11 of the SSP Genomics program if my sense of time isn’t totally hopeless. I think 11 is an auspicious number in a lot of ways. There have been at least 11 times I’ve wanted to jump in the burning hot autoclave after our chemostat went awry but also at least 11 times I’ve recovered and now I find fixing our equipment therapeutic. Fittingly enough, Dr. Gribskov has said resilience is a virtue at least 11 times today. This morning we covered the structure of scientific abstracts and then dove into a lecture about macromolecules. (You can see a glimpse of our disappointing BLAST search results in the back).

After lunch, we spent a solid two hours trying to decipher a bioinformatics database called Galaxy, sequencing proteins through BLAST and finding matches. To give you a better idea of what that felt like, imagine trying to find 20 similar length pieces of pasta to cook from a box of Barilla that’s just been stomped on. Letters were spinning around my head but I finally finished the protocol and I found at least 11 viable homologs. (A visual representation of the sequences can be seen below).

After dinner, we closed out our day with a dorm meeting and a trip back to the lab where we wanted to threaten our chemostats into working in at least 11 different ways. Below you can find a picture of our little group hug after another one of the chemostats decided to call it a quit. 

After 11 nights of working in labs or just enjoying each other’s company, you can’t find a quicker way to bond with the people here and learn that everyone will make a mistake or have a humbling moment at some point or the other. So might as well learn to laugh at yourself. 

Until next time, 

Botzilla Tamer (shout out to my research team)

About Me:

Hey, I’m Neha Chelamkuri and I’m from Frisco, Texas! On the off chance I’m not reading a book, you can find me devouring a bar of dark chocolate, at the gym, or learning more about mosquitoes and infectious diseases. Talk to me about anything but country music. 🙂