The End is Just the Beginning of Another Journey

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”

                                                                                                      ~Henry Ford

Macaulay 202: The room we spent endless afternoons in. Where we worked diligently in our bacteriophage projects, shared ideas and helped each other. This is the room where we came together as a group of students with the goal to learn from our professors and grow as individuals. The semester has come to an end and so has our time in the lab. Yet the spark of curiosity that this class ignited in me has not vanished but has lead me to challenge myself and explore new fields of research I had never considered such as Virology and Microbiology.

Before taking this class I was determined to go into human stem cell research, but after working with bacteriophages this semester – isolating plaques, seeing their structure and learning about their complex mechanisms – I was completely amazed and found myself wanting to know more about this subject. I recently wrote a research paper on the Influenza A (H1N1) virus for another class, and I felt satisfied knowing that I understood many of the techniques used to isolate a single virus that was used to make a vaccine. I feel that it is much easier to understand material you are given if you are familiar with the methods used, and this is one reason I love this class. This class has given me the freedom to explore questions that I want to explore as opposed to forcing me to learn material that the professor has chosen for me.

These last three weeks, I have been working on a foreign gene expression experiment. I am trying to discover the function of the protein expressed by gene product 44 of Manatee’s genome. I chose this gene product specifically because I found it intriguing to see the many HHPred hits it had with various types of DNA polymerases. I am very glad I chose this project because although I had no experience with any of the techniques needed to carry out this experiment, I have been able to learn most of them. I must confess at times I was not sure where this project was going to take me, much less to what conclusion I would come to, but we should take into consideration what Einstein once said “ If we knew what is was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” He’s right. This class has taught me to have a scientific plan but also learn to deal with obstacles such as contamination, imperfect dilutions, wrong annealing temperatures, mislabeling, and shortage of time. Although I will not finish my project in time, I did move far with it and will hopefully be able to complete in the next two weeks.

We came together in Macaulay 202, we worked together in the progress of our research projects and we were successful in accomplishing the goal of acquiring new knowledge. Thank You Professor Schildbach, Professor Fisher, Katy, Victoria, and the Phage Hunters for making this a great semester.

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