Design My Own Experiment…Say WHAT?!

After countless Blast hits, HHpred searches, SD scores, and Phamerator visits, the genome of Manatee has finally been completely annotated by the JHU Phage Hunters!

Hold for applause…

Now what do we do you may ask? Simply stated, we design our own experiments to complete for the remaining 5 weeks of the semester.

Wait, SAY WHAT?! We have to design our own experiments? How does one just simply create and carry out their own experiment?  With so many available options it was time to narrow down the possibilities from hundreds to just one. The first decision was whether to perform a wet lab, one that takes place within the actual lab, or a computer based experiment.  For me, a computer serves as more of a distraction than anything else  (there’s Facebook, Pinterest, and… ooh look an IM!) so therefore, a computer experiment was out of the question.  Wet lab it is!  Once that decision was out of the way it was time to decide what to focus on during the lab.  The list of options in my mind was short…because it was blank… but after looking at some examples the list lengthened.  Did I want to look at the affect of temperature on phage growth? Does the hydration of the plate stimulate or limit growth? Will another phage have the ability to infect my phage? All very interesting topics (in the nerdiest way possible) but not the ones that I prefer to investigate.  My decision: to investigate whether a low or high titer would degrade faster over the time that the high titer lysates have been stored. This experiment will take place completely in the lab and will require the comparison of several HTLs with varying titers.

Once I decided on a topic it was time to create a power point to present my topic to the remaining phage hunters. Simple…yes, nerve racking… undoubtedly. Not only do I despise giving presentations in front of an entire room of people, I specifically dread giving presentations in front of those with advanced scientific minds on an advanced scientific topics (cough, cough… Dr. Schildbach and Dr. Fisher). The presentation contains everything from the introduction of Manatee to the predicted outcomes of my experiment all neatly aligned in easy-to-understand vocabulary.  First day back from spring break, my first day out of the beautiful Florida sun, and here I sit writing a blog and putting the final touches on a power point presentation while the others members of my floor sit and soak up their remaining hours of break.

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