12 May 2010

Trypanosoma cruzi, Western blot ~ My first lab walkthrough :)

I watched a man carrying a framed window off street to Huntington Ave while I sat pensively reflecting on my day and how a lack of smiles took my joy (likely frowning in my sunglasses as I peered at him.) Early thirties, clearly focused on the difficult task at hand that had him walking lengthily with an awkward square framed piece of glass -he wasn't distracted. And I thought, how strange windows are. How odd to build thick walls and chained metal doors, but to carve out squares in walls as designated area's where light is allowed to pass un-thwarted, where air is controlled by this minute, delicate, volatile piece of glass that offers no defense whatsoever to a building... Glass does nothing but imply solidity. So where was this poor man heading, tasked awkwardly, in order to install this translucent illusion? It distracted my thoughts successfully, offering only moments of relief from my own mind, until the subway pulled along...

But, anyway, back on topic. So, last week a wonderfully inviting and friendly co-worker whom I meet in my orientation about four months back, offered me a walk through in his lab. I leave his name out, except that his first name is David, as well as the scientist he works for, out of respect for privacy -not disrespect. Let me begin by saying that I have never been in a lab. Being that I have pursued administration and not science, this is not unusual. I am, however, at a science school for more intentional reasons than to be an executive assistant (however much I enjoy this work and whom I am fortunate enough to work with.) I only mention such, as to explain my utter fascination and gratitude for this unique opportunity.

So, this lab. It's within the Department of immunology and Infectious Diseases. Ominous, I know. I did a bit of research on the particular study going on in this lab to find out that it was a lab studying the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. This little rascal is transmitted primarily in South America, via a blood sucking bug that defecates on an animals skin prior to taking it's blood meal. The parasite is in the defecation and gets into the blood stream through this grotesque transaction. Then the parasite enjoys the even more grotesque process of infecting cells for the purpose of breeding, the cells burst, and all the little parasites populate the blood steam to continue this process. There are actually two forms of the parasite, the form that is matured and the form that is newly formed in cells. It is the transition to maturity that causes the cell to burst.

These parasites have no treatment and will eventually infest organs and likely will lead to heart failure in the animal a number of years following the infection. Animal, by the way, includes homo sapians.

...Pause for delicious sip of merlot.

So, with a bit of trepidation, I showed up on the lab floor. David showed me into his lab. A bit about David. He is, as far as I can tell, a genuine soul. One of those, take it as an open book, type of individuals. Very friendly and personable. He is a lab assistant and both manages the operations and flow of the lab as well as many standard tests. To my surprise, he partook in explaining the test that he was in the process of upon my arrival. That test being, a Western Blot test.

The Western Blot test is a method of identifying particular proteins in samples. The proteins are identified by adding selected antibodies that are known to attach to the desired protein. The antibodies are added in two intervals and rinsed from the sample at each succession. Then the sample is put in a machine that 'reads' the information and prints out analyzable sheets of paper showing the proteins that would be otherwise imperceivable.

So wonderfully interesting. The climax of the walk through however, was looking through a microscope at a sample of numerous Trypanosoma cruzi. The wonderment and excitement I enjoyed while peering through this eye lens. Incomparable.


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I've Thought...

03.09 ~ I am but human, in my thoughts and desires- in my inconsistencies. It makes my opposing decisions no less real, no less quantitative... confusion is but the eye of truth, beckoning reason. ~ 03.12 ~ Time. It's existence is action progression, regression, reflection and projection. What in time is solidified and carried to another time is my choice. In one choice you lose all others; as an atom appreciates when the observer decides. It's a blue ocean of intrigue and a wave of contentment- that I am lost in, whilst, carried by. ~ 03.23 ~ That we are all part of one pulsing energy of life.. ~ 3.28 ~ There is no greater power, than the power of words. In speech we pass each other in halls, ride in elevators and embark in the great adventure that are words - with all of their beauty and intrigue. There are no wrong words spoken, only wrong interpretations and implications. Honest words are organic, true and expressions of what we are; existing autonomously and innocently, regardless of what others may think of them. 3.30 ~ That, the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. It certainly doesn't help being in the company of those who have succeeded in accumulating far more knowledge than I. Is the differentiation between intelligence and knowledge simply the accumulation verses the ability to learn/understand? Or, are the two interchangeable. I feel as though time is passing faster than my ability to accumulate... do other people share this conundrum, I wonder... 4.02 ~ That, "It is what it is" isn't exactly accurate. "It is what I make it" is more so... 4.08 ~ That, "it's not time that matters... it's that mattering is what makes time." 4.12 ~ I watch and wonder... think and ponder... about it. Should I find that I have analyzed to much, to little; or that the quandary was all for not, I'll not know till the applicable time has passed.I hereby instill time as my guide, innocently and fully without disposition and without angst. (4.17) ~ Though random, we should not ignore paths crossed. Just as, we should not entirely exclude emotion from our conclusions. (4.26) ~ That I dispise my lack of control over my own intentions and wonder why I am so weak in this regard. (4.27) ~ That I have opened doors, I wished to open, while simultaniously putting other doors at risk of closing. It's not with resistance I contemplate, it's with anxiety. (4.28) That, I should take a break. Time to simply be, for a bit. (5.01) Its hunger drives decent of rational, a battle of wit and need. Like rain pouring down, wisped by winds, settled by gravity, I’m drawn to it ~ KAS