Monday was pretty cool. A few students have high-titer lysates and are ready to start DNA preps. But first, they got to stain their samples and image them with the Electron Microscope (EM). EM is a powerful technique that few undergraduates get to use so this is a big deal for our students. We are lucky to have the Integrated Imaging Center right next door and wonderful faculty and staff there who are great at imaging and teaching. Anyway, I was in lab and heard that the first phages were being viewed next door, so I immediately left to check them out. Derek’s were up first and they were very cool. I’ll let him describe them in detail later, but trust me they were cool. Next up was Caryn’s sample. Erin helped her get it set up and started zooming in closer and closer until… I let out a gasp and said “There they are!” with an amount of enthusiasm that elicited laughter from the Phage Hunters. They are so jaded! I thought it was very exciting.

The students have embraced the metaphor of parenthood when it comes to their phages and the EM was like getting an ultrasound. You know something is growing, but only in that dark room with the black and white image on the screen do you get to see the little guy (or girl, or guys or girls).


About emilyjanefisher

Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University currently teaching biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology, and the phage hunters lab. I grew up in Palo Alto, California, went to school at UC Santa Cruz (home of the banana slugs--our school mascot and state mollusk), and got my PhD from UNC Chapel Hill.
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5 Responses to Woah

  1. noraholeole says:

    I absolutely can’t wait to do the EM on Friday with my phages–it’s been a long road getting to the high-titer lysate, especially after yesterday’s filtration fiasco. Never again will I go near a sink filter. I guess now that I’m at this point I need to finally pick a name for my phage!

  2. Filtration fiasco? Seriously?

  3. emilyjanefisher says:

    Yeah we went on a wild goose chase for a functional vacuum set-up. The one in the prep room did NOTHING. The one in 315 worked great until I turned the water off, at which point tap water shot up the tube and into the sterile conical tube (awesome). So we went to the Schildbach lab and used the pump.

  4. noraholeole says:

    Alliteration makes everything a little bit better. Treacherous vacuum pumps do not. I’ve been lucky so far in terms of only having half my lysate–nothing has gone wrong (yet…), so I should have plenty to finish up with.

  5. It’s a fair feeling that the filtration failure was a fiasco. Luckily, voluminous lysates leave lots for later.

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