Too Small for Her Lab Coat

By Jessica Kahan

Unlike the majority of the other students in my class, I am new to Phage Hunting this semester. At first, when we were annotating genomes, everyone was new to the material, and we all learned together. However, now that we are in the lab I am totally out of my league–it’s a little intimidating! Luckily, everyone around me has already isolated a phage before and is available to answer my millions of questions. Since this is only my second week in wet lab, I’m optimistic that as the semester progresses I will get more comfortable. After all, nothing drastic has happened..yet.

Last week, I went outside to collect my soil sample. I didn’t really know where to look, so I picked a spot near a newly placed statue that looked promising. After checking out my plates today, it looks like I made the right choice! My phage was so potent that it killed all the bacteria on my first three dilutions, and I only had visible/countable plaques on my lowest dilution plate. Needless to say, I am very excited to continue isolating my phage, and I hope that my phage has yet to be discovered by another person so that I can claim it officially as my own.

Although I was nervous at first about the prospect of wet lab, I’ve found that it is highly engaging and fun. The hours fly by, and I always feel satisfied after accomplishing the day’s work. Phage Hunting is definitely the highlight of my week, and I can tell that each day I am learning more about phages and lab research in general. I’m looking forward to completing the semester!

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