By Kate Whitaker
“If we know what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” ~ Albert Einstein
None of us know what we are doing. If everyone knew what they were doing, phage lab, as a class, would not exist. I might still be a bit lost, but I am learning. I am learning a lot.
1. All dirt is not created equal. My samples came from the community garden on North Charles St… Next time I am going to take a sample from inside Hollander house (AMR II) because I would be guaranteed bacteriophage.
2. Small does not mean less frustrating. My initial attempt at direct plating did not produce plaques. Though, enrichment produced several plaques. I did a little nerd dance after setting out my incubated plates.
3. And finally, that odor you smell – that odor is not the bagel and cream cheese you snagged from FFC and shoved in your backpack in a hurry because you slept through your alarm, that smell is M. smegmatis. It didn’t strike me till later how unappealing phage topping on one’s breakfast might be, but who is really going to stand in between a college student and food?
These first days have been anything but routine. At first I thought the processes would be daunting. Lab work is not easy but at least I know (sort of) what I am doing now. Missing the first day was only a slight hiccup. I have the TAs to thank for that, so thank you!
With enrichment and serial dilution completed we will continue to isolate the phage in hopes of reaching a pure sample. Eventually the goal is to identify my phage. For now I will settle for the arbitrary names I gave my plagues. “Target” has a rather distinct personality: large, obnoxious, and all together overpowering. And like its namesake makes a bullseye. George is just George.