Frogs? What a Great Way to Start Week 3

By William L.

Today was a very lively day, starting off with a guest lecture from Dr. Tyrone Hayes! Although there was slight confusion about the time of the lecture, SSP really brought it out and showed how quick thinking we are. In the end, most participants showed up for the live viewing even though the timing was uncontrolled. As Ms. Latus said later in the Discord server, “SSP is a team effort, and today you guys really stepped up to the plate for me. Thank you all for being so willing to do what needs to be done, each and every time!”

I personally fell victim to the confusion and missed the live lecture (a lot of PST participants were still knocked out asleep while we were being pinged to join the zoom), but watching the recording on YouTube was still a nice way to start off the day. The frogs that Dr. Tyrone Hayes talked about were the highlight for me (and many other participants). It was especially interesting when he explained that how dozens of compounds were tested, and every estrogen that made the frogs change colour was also known to cause breast cancer.

Following the lecture, we moved on to the daily class activity. Today’s activity was on Enzyme Mechanisms, and it was a tough one for most participants. Our group (me, Helen and Andrew) tried our best and we almost gave up halfway. Who knew we were supposed to be able to draw a mechanism for a Cdc14-catalyzed reaction! The difficulty may also have been due to the fact that Andrew was calling in from a mall (no shade).

We ended off the night with part 1 of week 3’s tasks for the research project. Our group was so lost trying to design a steady-state assay protocol to measure Kcat and Km for our enzyme but that’s fine because SSP is supposed to be challenging. We really felt the “fire-hose” effect today. 

Overall, today was a great start to the week, and I can’t wait for week 3 of our research project. Tomorrow is Dr. Jill’s lecture on the FDA approval process for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, and I am sure everyone is super excited about it!