By Sumukh Shetty
As another eventful semester of phage hunting comes to an end, it’s time to reflect on this amazing experience. Unlike last semester, I was no longer confined to the lab and was able to explore the diverse world of mycobacteriophages even more than last semester.
Coming back from winter break, I was excited to return to the lab and conduct various experiments on my phage. Little did I know, I’d have to wait two months to get back into the lab. Instead, the annotation of Altwerkus became my focus for 2.5 hours each Monday and Wednesday. This was definitely less exciting than being in lab. However, it was still an good experience. I realized how much information is packed into such a little genome. I probably know more about SD scores and Glimmer calls than I’ll ever need to. Also, it was amazing being able to contribute to the huge database of phage genomics. But I won’t lie, I was so thrilled the day Dr. Fisher said we were done with annotations and returning to lab.
Going back to wet lab, I realized why I loved phage so much during the fall semester. I could do various experiments that I had never done before and learn so much about my phage. At the same time, I loved talking with the people around my bench. With everyone conducting a unique experiment, it was exciting to see what results people got. As for me, I incubated different phage dilutions at various temperatures. Due to the short time we spent in lab, I wasn’t able to test all the temperatures that I wanted to. But I was able to conclude that my phage could survive at 25 degrees Celsius, while it wouldn’t grow at 45 degrees Celsius.
Even though it wasn’t as much lab work as the first semester, phage hunting II was a great experience. I’ve gained so much valuable knowledge and I’m motivated to conduct further research thanks to this course.