Oh How I’ve Missed My FuzzBall

By Alyssa Khan

“This semester we’re going to be annotating a genome.”
Sounds pretty cool, right? I don’t know exactly what my expectations were, but it wasn’t to be spending hours on my laptop, trying to make sense of diagrams I had never seen before. We spent the first few weeks attempting to get the necessary software to work on our laptops. Then we spent the following weeks learning how to do the annotations and doing them in groups to present. My group could only meet on Sunday morning (the best time to get work done!) and working on the annotations took hours. As the semester progressed though, it became much easier to understand how to interpret all the information we had available to us.
However overall, annotating a genome turned out to be one of those things that sounds a lot cooler than it actually is.
Last week, we returned to “wet lab” to work on individual projects. I am doing an immunity assay on my phage from last semester, FuzzBall (yes, I named my phage “FuzzBall” – if you’re planning on taking this class be sure to start thinking about your phage name early so you don’t end up choosing one that you’re slightly ashamed to tell others). When I walked into lab, I started to smile uncontrollably. I didn’t even realize how much I missed seeing my all-too-familiar ‘bullseye’ plaques on agar plates. So far, this part of the semester promises to be a lot more exciting. I’m really looking forward to seeing if the lysogens of my phage are immune to infection by other phages!

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