“It’s day 212 of Day1, the program that gives first-year students hands-on, authentic research opportunities at the very start of their Hope College education, and freshmen Ben Turner and Karey Frink are feeling as comfortable in a Schaap Center laboratory as they do in their cozy Lichty Hall dorm rooms.
After almost a year, the two frosh have streaked a plethora of plates to isolate E. coli cultures, used a DNA sequencer to identify those E. coli strains and other bacterial populations, and analyzed the data with Hope’s supercomputer, Curie. They’ve paddled up and downstream in the Macatawa Watershed to gather water samples, in agricultural areas and residential ones throughout the Holland area. They’ve worked side-by-side with Dr. Aaron Best and Dr. Graham Peaslee, and the students worked on their own, too. In Lichty Hall, where all 13 Day1:Watershed students are housed, they are part of a close-knit, residential learning community that is supportive and collaborative in their similar academic pursuits and challenges.”
Two Friday’s ago, half of the Phage class took to the road to do some TEM work on our mycobacteriophage samples. Having been in the lab a lot and doing computer work, it was fun to get out to a new location with people we have been familiar with all year.
It was actually a really fun day, and if you get the chance to check Twitter, search for my hashtag #phaginghard and you’ll find a stream of tweets from the hilarious things that were said throughout the day.
If you’re not familiar with TEM, its a Transmission electron Microscope. It takes up a small room and works as a beam of electrons is transmitted through a thin specimen. After putting our phage lysates on a thin copper mesh circle (that is really tiny), we loaded our discs into the apparatus and got some cutesy little pictures of our phage! My sample only had four phage, so the microscope operator was giving me a hard time about causing him a lot of work ;).
Each imaging session took around 30 minutes, so while each student was in getting their photos, the rest of us were studying for a big biology test and playing Euchre. Overall, it was a great time had by all, and we got a bit closer to our phage associates.