A whole lotta snow!

This week the Williams Lab and the rest of Maine got a load of snow dumped on us.

Starting last Thursday, it’s been snowing pretty much constantly. As of now, we’ve gotten over 2 feet of snow! Our lab looks out over a beautiful snowy quad. Here’s a picture taken from the window of the Williams lab this morning:
quad

In the warmth of our cozy lab, we’ve continued to work right through the snow. Here’s what everyone has been up to:
Jacob will be done with his morphological scoring by the end of this week! Then after break, he will get to move on to a little qPCR before we are finished up for the semester. Quang is currently testing his primers to amplify the alas2 gene and adjusting the melting temperature of the PCR machine to get amplification just right. Once he is able to successfully use his primers, he will begin working on cloning and micro-injecting the alas2 gene to see if he can partially rescue heme generation function in the absence of Nfe2. Maddie is working on imaging control animals this week and getting beautiful images as always! This is what the inner ear of a 48 hours post-fertilization zebrafish embryo looks like (neuromast cells lit up in green):
maddie

I ran a Western blot last week to ensure efficient binding of a transcription factor, Ahr1B, to DNA before and after sonication in a ChIP assay. Because Ahr1B forms a complex with another protein, Arnt, the formaldehyde crosslinking I used was likely not effective enough, and no Ahr1B showed up on my Western blot indicating the crosslinking did not hold. This week, I am trying a new crosslinking reagent, DMA, specific to protein-protein crosslinking before the formaldehyde DNA-protein crosslinking step. Hopefully that will do the trick! I also attended the Yale Undergraduate Research Conference (YURC) in New Haven, CT over the weekend. Almost 100 hundred undergraduates from colleges and universities across the country presented work in all fields of study. I presented my positive and negative control results which show the efficiency of our newly developed ChIP and qPCR procedures. Here’s a picture of me with my poster presentation!
alex presentation

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