Learning in and out of Lab (Weeks 5 -6)

Dinner at Kelly’s!

So this week, it finally hit me that we’ve been here for a month. It definitely hasn’t felt like a month and I’m sad it’ll be over before I even realize.

This week in lab, it was mostly a dud since the cells didn’t grow, but we have a game plan on how to best proceed both for the requirements by Dr. Plemmons and Dr. Li as well as what Kat and I want to accomplish in the next coming weeks. Kelly the grad has been amazing thus far and she invited us over to her place for dinner on Friday. We were able to explore more of Kaohsiung that we haven’t seen and we went to a traditional open market. it was nice to be able to cook and not go out, though buying ingredients seemed more expensive than going out.

Rachael from the Guo lab took us to Tainan where we went to the Chimei Museum and learned more about the cultural/colonial history of Taiwan. The Chimei Museum seemed like a summation of western museums, which I can see how important that is to be able to learn more about what we learn about, just for exposure.

On Sunday, we went to Cijin again and just laid on the beach since it finally stopped raining, though everyone has been telling us about the upcoming typhoon so I’ve been keeping an eye on the CWB. Next weekend we’re going to 千島湖 and going tea tasting, but only the 5 of us. It’ll be exciting to travel around Taiwan using the skills we’ve gained but a little scary as well. We have our airbnb and tickets booked, just hoping for the weather.  

 

Paper lanterns in Shifen

Week 6, it’s had its ups and downs. The typhoon season jitters were short lived as it was very hot and sunny all week in Kaohsiung. Kelly and Dr. Li were telling us to be wary of the somewhat unpredictable behavior of typhoons. Nevertheless, we survived unscathed.

Lab this week was mainly routine work – subculturing and nurturing the different cell lines. Some are more finicky than others and it makes it difficult with the short time that we’re here. Though, the three of us continue to learn a lot from each other.

We’ve been trying to grow the FOXA2 gene in the pcDNA3.1(+) plasmid, but the bacteria aren’t cooperating much. As a result, it’s been a game of wait and see and when we feel like we have the upper hand, we sometimes take two steps back – the nature of the wet lab, I guess. We are gathering more data in order to do protein analyses and compare the effects of FOXA2 in different cell lines. It’s been invigorating being able to learn different techniques and just question what field of study I want to go into as I think about grad school.

Taipei this past weekend was great! I was able to further fine-tune the Mandarin I do know and I was able to vaguely explain why the 5 of us are here and what we’re doing. Elephant Mountain is a beautiful sight and so was the Shifen Waterfall. Ayri’s birthday is coming up this week, too, so I’m excited to be able to celebrate with her. Current mood: in the need of a food coma nap

– Brendon

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