Blog post #3 from James Meyo

Hello everyone,

It’s that time of the semester!

It has been a while since I last blogged. The semester is already in full swing and senior year is passing by really fast. Doing lab research during the academic year is definitely a very different experience from what I had in the summer. The hours are shorter and I have to plan my lab hours between the different free slots I have during the day. I have become adept at estimating precisely how long it takes me to perform different protocols and to allocate time slots these protocols can fit into my schedule. This has greatly improved my time management skills and motivated me to be more efficient at everything I do. Last week I had to perform a sonication protocol on a couple of samples within two hours because it was the only available time slot I had. I had anticipated to work on about half the samples during this time period but to my surprise, I was actually able to do more than that. It is impressive how efficient we can get once we have enough practice!
My thesis research is progressing and I am tackling different aspects of the project at the same time. Currently, I am working on confirming the efficiency of the different primers I shall be using in my project. These primers are expected to amplify known regions of DNA that we expect specific transcription factors to bind. Transcription factors are proteins that regulate gene expression by binding to specific DNA sequences leading to protein-DNA interactions. The specific DNA sequences incorporated in my research are known as xenobiotic response elements (XREs). XREs are DNA sequences in the promoter region of genes that are regulated by specific ligand-activated transcription factors. The term xenobiotic refers to the fact that the ligand involved in this biochemical pathway can be found in the cell although it does not naturally occur there.
Well that’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed my mini science lecture!