Training! Training! And More Training!

The Williams Lab is now off to a running start!

All of us have been reading a lot and trying to get up to speed on all of the literature. We have an annotated bibliography due next week, and I think this will be a good first step for us to build our citation libraries and get going on our intros.

Three out of four of us went into lab last Saturday to train with Larissa. It was a long day, but we were very productive and grateful that Larissa was willing to spend part of her weekend working with us. I had an incredibly helpful meeting with her, during which we outlined the big picture of my project and then some more immediate goals. I will be using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) to determine if the patterns we see in gene regulation are due to the direct binding of Nfe2 in the cis-promoter region. In order to do this, I will first need to validate the antibody we have for Nfe2 by conducting Western Blots. After this, I will be able to move on to doing ChIP with embryos, and hopefully nuclear extracts, to identify where Nfe2 is binding on DNA. This meeting was super helpful and gave me a lot more context for my project and overall goals!

In the lab, I learned the Western Blot protocol today! Aside from a few small mishaps, I think it went pretty well and I am ready to practice the technique. Rachel was also in lab with me today, and she got started with her PCR. I think she’s pretty amped-up for it (pun courtesy of Mel). Mel and Jason have both been practicing microinjections and have spent a lot of time perfecting their techniques for pulling and filling needles. Mel is also working on mounting and was trained on the confocal. Everyone is putting in a lot of hard work to get trained, and I think we are all excited to get started on our projects!

Jason led a great lab meeting yesterday. We read an interesting paper on TCDD and how it may cause heart malformations in developing zebrafish embryos. He did a wonderful job providing us with background and digging deeper into the paper, posing lots of great questions to the group.

This coming weekend is Parents Weekend, so everyone around campus has been busy getting ready. I’m excited to present my poster on the research I did this summer at the poster session. Hopefully I can get some people interested in zebrafish tooth development! I also can’t wait to see my parents and tell them about everything I have been doing. I know they’ll be really interested in how thesis is going, and I hope to show them around Carnegie (my new home)!

Well, that’s all for now. Just keep swimming! <“,))>< (that’s supposed to be a fish)