A Lesson in Patience

By Isabella Zellerbach

When I went to my first Phage Hunting class, I was over the moon. We were following a lab manual that made sense, doing science-y things, and I got to use all sorts of equipment that made me feel like a real live researcher. And I was good at it! I got my enrichment culture to work, had two distinct phages that were really different, and even managed to isolate my phages in just a few streaks. And then disaster struck.

A new phage decided to pop up on my plates and I had to re-streak. And re-streak. And re-streak. And I was streaking until the end of September. I finally got my phage isolated and moved on to my MTL and things seemed like they were taking a turn for the better. I calculated the titer, got all my ducks in a row, and did the calculations for the six web plates to create the HTL. Then that mysterious, unknown contamination hit the lab.

Even though I had six beautiful webbed plates underneath all that contamination, there was no way I was going to be able to flood the plates and create an HTL. So I re-did the six plates and waited to see if the contamination was gone. Luckily, it was! And so my HTL was born.

After that, I had a fairly smooth ride. My EM came out nicely, my DNA prep was a solid number, and my QC gel was bright and vibrant! It just took me until the very last day of class to get there, but I made it in the end. The entire process definitely made me re-evaluate my patience level and I’d like to think I came out of the experience way more patient than I went going in.

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