Keeping score

Things have been picking up for all of us as the semester seems to accelerate towards Thanksgiving break.

We have all been working hard both on our lab projects themselves, and on our Introductions, which are due right before the break. So much to do, and so little time!

I have been injecting embryos with a control morpholino, dosing them with either MEHP (a phthalate) or DMSO (the solvent, and thus a control), and then scoring various aspects of their development. I feel increasingly comfortable scoring things such as heart and jaw development, and it has been great to see noticeable progress in my ability to spot abnormal phenotypes. I have also finally mastered viewing fast-moving fish at the 72 and 96 hour time points, the source of some previous frustration! I have also become increasingly comfortable trusting my observations, especially as I have begun blinding myself to which treatment group is which. Interestingly, I have seen several instances of pericardial edema and enlarged hearts in both the treatment and control group thus far! Next week I will begin collecting a full set of data with 15 fish in each treatment group – I can’t wait to get a full set of data!

The things we do for science

Gwen had a particularly late night/early morning this week, venturing into the maze of Carnegie at 2 am in order to freeze embryos at 18 hours post fertilization. She has been working hard all week collecting embryos for a “time series”, in which she will use Western Blotting to examine Nfe2 levels at different time points during development. Rachel has been working hard on designing a new set of primers for alas2, while Mel has been practicing microinjecting (with great success!) and taking images of cilia in zebrafish otic vesicles on the confocal microscope.

We all seem to be hitting our strides, with a clear idea of what our lab projects will entail, and a plan to get there!