03 November 2015

Learning in Lab

So it's that time of the semester again, where everyone is constantly busy.  The thing that has been taking up the majority of my time is my Cellular Biology Lab and class.  For lab, the whole class is looking at different spider's DNA and what proteins that DNA codes for.

My group specifically is looking into Ambush vs. Web Building spider hunting types.  We are looking at a few different neurotoxin proteins that we know exist in one spider, and are trying to see if they also exist in others, and if so, comparing the amount of toxin created in each spider.  For this lab, we are using a special machine that our professor spent a month before school learning how to use.  I go down to lab every couple days to run reactions of DNA pools and specific protein creating molecules and get to do my very own research.

Every time that I go into lab, I am amazed that I get to do all of this research as an undergrad.  This isn't my first time working in a lab either.  I have been doing self designed research projects in class every year that I have been at L&C.  I've worked on testing flies genetics, to frog muscle growth, to human respiratory systems, and now spider venom.  I am so grateful every day that I get such an amazing opportunity as a scientist to conduct my own research in a space where professors trust us and allow us to learn and make mistakes on our own.

These labs now lead to amazing opportunities down the road as well.  Many of my friends and classmates have worked in professor's labs over the summer and during school, as well as working at OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University), and OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry).  This does not only pertain to Biology majors as well.  Students from all different departments and fields of study work on research every year.  I am so happy that I've had this opportunity to learn so much firsthand, and I am excited to see what I learn from this lab, and others in the future.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at jprovost@lclark.edu.  Have a wonderful day!