Spring has arrived

Spring is certainly arrived and everything is in bloom on campus as preparations are being made for graduation of the class of 2016.

Alex and Jake continue to streamline their ChIP protocol. Currently they are working with salmon sperm to create an environment that will produce more specific antibody binding to the Nfe2 protein.

Quang gave us all a crash course in bioinformatics in lab meeting this week. High throughput sequencing, RNA-seq, and the importance of normalization and experimental design to ensure accurate and substantive results were the take aways for me. He has certainly come up to speed quickly and has his work cut out for him.

Larissa and her husband Jos offered us the privilege of enjoying their farm, Riverweb, this week, an experiment in sustainable agriculture.

Luckily the rain held out long enough for a tour of the beautiful grounds, including the river that borders the hay fields and pasture and an old barn which played multiple roles throughout its history on the property. We were all treated to an amazing lunch and with poached peaches and ice cream for dessert. Turns out, science can be delicious.

Riverweb farm

Riverweb farm

Maddie and I (Derek) continued our work with the transgenic zebrafish dosing with pro-oxidants and imaging. We also had the opportunity to get trained on the scanning electron microscope which we were both pretty amazed by. We’re nailing down a procedure to look at the zebrafish otic vesicle which, if it works, should produce some amazing images.

Finally, this is the last full week with the seniors! They will be donning caps and gowns in just a few days and moving on to do unbelievable things. All of us new comers are sad to see them go as they’ve helped acquaint us with the Williams lab over the past month. At the same time, we wish them well in whatever direction their path takes them. I know I’m not alone in saying thank you, keep in touch and enjoy!