Over these past few weeks in the lab, I have learned a variety of new skills that are essential for completing my project. I also have a greater understanding of the full scope of steps that are required for me to complete an analysis of a particular gene mutation. The steps are: crossing that mutated strain with the strain over-expressing our gene of interest, dissecting tetrads from that cross, replicating that dissection onto plates with different antibiotics or missing certain amino acids that will indicate a successful cross between the strains, and finally completing a dilution analysis that, if possible, compares a wild type strain, a strain with the gene of interest over-expressed, a strain that only expresses the gene deletion, and a strain that expresses the gene deletion and the gene over-expression. The dilution analysis allows me to see whether the gene deletion phenotype has chromatin that is rescued from the gene over-expression. I also utilize a dilution analysis to confirm that identical strains from the same dissection grow similarly, to confirm that my dilution results are reliable. In my dilutions, I have been able to see that some of the gene deletions I am investigating lead to a rescue of the chromatin, which is exciting.
I am also currently working to put together a scientific abstract and poster to present at the SRI poster session at the end of the month. This is something that I feel is especially applicable to STEM education, as a science teacher should be able to teach students how to conduct and present research. Presenting research is essential to the process, as communicating findings can be difficult, even to other scientists. Thus, students need to learn how to concisely summarize and communicate scientific information, especially that information that they have collected themselves. It is essential to accurately present scientific data, and I hope by presenting my own data I will be able to have a fuller understanding of how to accurately and clearly present data, and understanding I will later be able to pass on to students.
For the rest of my time in the lab this summer, I aim to finish as many of my dilution analyses as possible, so I can have data to present at the poster session, and hopefully complete most of the project I have been assigned by my supervisors. I also aim to continue researching general background information for both my project, and the research done by other members of the lab, in order to have a more complete understanding of my research. In order to manage my time effectively, I plan out my weeks in advance, and have a general idea of what I specifically want to complete, which is very helpful in making progress on my project. Additionally, to further understand the scientific background of my lab, I am continuing to review relevant journal articles with my mentor, in order to make sure that I am fully understanding the articles. In the next few weeks I am also planning to concisely collect my results in order to have a clear way to present my research.
Keeping up with current literature is also very applicable to STEM education, as even though science curriculums do not often change radically year to year, breakthroughs are made in science consistently. I believe that it is important for educators to stay up-to-date on current scientific discoveries, so they can be woven into the consistent curriculum to both pique students’ interest and give them a fuller picture of both canonical scientific facts and newer discoveries and thoughts.
Overall, I feel that the time I’ve had in the lab since my first progress report has allowed me to feel more confident about my knowledge of the lab procedures, locations of equipment, and my ability to form my schedule from day to day. Though I do often consult my mentor, I am usually able to plan and carry out my own protocols each day. Also, I have gotten more used to keeping my notes carefully, and I feel more comfortable with the note taking standards in the lab, which is very helpful for future presentations of my research, and discussing it with my mentor.