Second blog post from Dan Jordan

Hello again!

It’s great to write to you once more from the Williams Lab. Several weeks have passed since the last time I blogged, and much has changed in our tiny little corner of Carnegie since that time.

Firstly, we have embryos! All of our hard work with the zebrafish in our colony is finally paying off in the form of embryos that our lab can use in its research. For weeks my lab partner Allison and I struggled in the colony to coerce our fish to provide us with embryos, but nothing worked in a consistent manner. It seemed as though the breeding tanks we were using, which separate two male fish from two female fish until we pull the divider between them as a prompt to breed, were doing the trick, but the numbers we were getting were never reliable. It turns out though that all the fish needed was some more time. By giving them a few extra weeks to grow up and mature we are now able to get enough embryos (approximately every third day) to not only microinject with, but also to use in our ChIP project! In fact, yesterday for the first time Allison and I successfully injected embryos that we are going to use for our project in the coming days.

The process of working with live animals has certainly been a challenging one. Whenever we seem to troubleshoot one problem, another will invariably almost immediately pop up, testing not only our knowledge of the zebrafish we work with, but our skill as caretakers and scientists. For instance, a contamination that was causing our embryos to arrest (stop developing) was easily knocked out when we started washing our embryos in methylene blue to disinfect them. Needless to say we will encounter more problems in our research and our care of the animals in our colony, but with each passing day our confidence and arsenal of knowledge grows.

Allison and I only have one week of work left at Bates for the summer, and neither of us can believe how quickly time has flown by. From working in a lab to camping in Acadia to going to a Portland Seadogs game, these past eight weeks have provided experiences that I will remember for a lifetime. I look forward to the coming semester, ready to continue my work and excited to learn even more.