By Andrew Greenhaugh
Welcome back fellow Phage Hunters! I hope the long winter’s cold and the intersession’s boredom did not reduce you to a state of an utter academic and intellectual pulp. A lot has changed since last semester, and it’s not just the year. It’s the way we approach things in The Lab of Phages. Everyday last semester, the routine was familiar: come in, put your lab coat on, see if you had plaques, cry if you didn’t, cry if you did, and repeat, all the while leading up to the culminating steps of creating an HTL, preparing a sample for DNA prep, and ultimately viewing your masterpiece under a $300,000 microscope.
But now, the tides have changed. We sit in a room about 1/3 as large as the lab we were in. Instead of putting lab coats on, we turn computers on. Instead of crying over plaques, we cry over getting windows on Mac computers. Ultimately, we experiment with computer software instead of agar plates and “smeg”. It may seem like an entirely different game, but the fact of the matter is is that we’re going into this semester the same as we did last, with no knowledge of what’s ahead. And that is the beauty of this class. We explore the smallest bundles of DNA and RNA which have the biggest impact on the world, and can contribute to an ever growing database of information on these little “dudes.” So HOP (haha I made a funny) on board the Phage Train 2. We will look even more inside the phage this semester than we ever have before . . .