Protein Problems

Dr. Hall called our protein pathetic.



But that’s okay because we only need to see if there is enzyme activity!!! This week was certainly interesting. It will certainly be remembered by the field trip and the immense waste (for science!) that we produced on the 28th. Pic included for reference. Time seems to fly when you are incessantly pipetting Bradford dye into countless microcentrifuge tubes. Or pouring said liquid into 40% of the total stock of cuvettes for the entire room. On the bright side, we are now very familiar with absorbance (right?). We mastered the standard curve 🙂 Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And insane we are. 

Today I woke up, seeing the llama, Schubert/Caihong/Da Zhuzhu on the desk beside me, and was quickly reminded of the corn that my roommate and I bought on the day of the field trip to gift the teachers. Our laughter rang through the hall as we imagined what the gift-giving site would be like. But other than that, the day started off relatively peaceful. We grabbed our laptops and went to the Armory. For one of the chilliest days we’ve had so far, it was still quite hot. I thought I could escape the heat in a northern state, but it seems I am quite mistaken. At least it was air conditioned inside the building. But, the clacking of keyboards working on excel was suddenly interrupted by blaring alarms. Although I must admit, they are quite cute compared to the blasting sirens my school owns. Luckily, it was a false alarm, and no lab data was lost in the process. I certainly wouldn’t mind redoing the experiment to get a better-behaved protein collection, but that might be the unpopular opinion at hand. We did discover that Purdue ants are much larger than those we have back home, and it was the first time I’ve ever seen firefighters in person, even though I live in the fire-prone state of California. Certainly a memorable experience.

Today was the day we “grew up”. Gone were the days of descriptive lab instructions, and now we are assigned to design our own procedure. How gratified Dr. Hall and Dr. Das must feel watching us graduate from lab instructions? They might’ve even shed a tear. I feel a little bit of a loss, knowing that we are “pro-researchers” now. With such misbehaving protein, each step we took was dragged down by iron weights with little space to wiggle. I admire the perseverance of our teams, and am prepared to face the challenge that is to come, for what is accomplishment without struggle? I trust that the work we put in will resolve what we encounter now, and the reconsideration and review of each step has actually brought me much more understanding about our research.   

As I sit here, typing out the blog, I am brought to reflect on this week, and really the program as a whole. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity to meet some of the coolest people, and they have brought so much insight. I hope that the unique atmosphere that surrounds these researchers will be preserved in their future endeavors, as I too, hope that the childlike eagerness of mine could maintain its longevity. This program was so much more than research. Collaboration, communication, and the interaction of language have all made a huge impact. I am brought to experience the potential the future holds for biochemistry, and to see the evolving technology in bioinformatics that has progressed the world today. Maybe my roommate and I will one day be able to convert the corn that was rejected by Dr. Hall into strains of corn with crimson kernels.

Or we could cook it with a hot plate.

Just kidding.

My name is Xuan, I’m from California, and I’m not a fan of heat. In fact, I much prefer using fans during the heat. I like rabbits, leading to my expanding knowledge base on Korean sentences involving the word rabbit thanks to certain fellow SSPers. I like gaming, reading, the arts, the sciences, history, language… a ton of stuff. Hope you enjoyed the blog!