July Reflection of Microbiology Research

Wow!  The month of July has been full of learning experiences.  The first day I started my research, I was extremely nervous.  I did not know what to expect, and I definitely did not want to mess up anything that was going on.  Now, as I look back, I had nothing to worry about because research is all about making mistakes and learning from them.

Kristin Goodwin examines DNA in a gel with a UV transilluminator.

I have learned to go with the flow because the research protocols hardly ever stay true to form or go as expected.  As long as a detailed research notebook is kept, so that awareness of the changes made is known, trial and error teaches valuable skills.  Thankfully, I overcame my initial pipetting issue and transitioned into the repetition of confidently performing PCR after PCR.  I was extremely slow at forming the master mix for the PCR protocol my first week, but now, I am much faster, while continuing my efficiency.  I have been able to amplify the tapY1 gene sequence several times now, but the gel extraction protocol continues to be a thorn in my side.  I have learned not to become frustrated, but to look at the situation optimistically.  Dr. Huddleston has been wonderful in encouraging me and patiently teaching me the skills I need to know to be effective in research.  I am an extremely organized person and pay precise attention to details.  My notes, over the protocols I have completed, are helpful in remembering what worked and what failed.  Not only is research full of performing procedures, but also, research demands the responsibility of cleaning up after oneself and learning how to run the autoclave to sterilize equipment that the whole research lab uses.  I have had to learn how to make different solutions that are used in the laboratory equipment, so that when supplies are running low, I can make more to keep the research running efficiently.  I have been challenged lately with performing the work of three people.  I enjoy working with my research team and miss them thoroughly when they are gone.  It is helpful to have someone to collaborate with on ideas and ask for advice when stuck on a procedure.  Knowing my teammates trust me enough to perform their work while they are away has been very encouraging.  I am excited to see what the future holds and how the research I am conducting will advance.  I will continue to work my hardest by learning from my mistakes, paying attention to all the steps needing to be performed, and collaborating with my teammates to find solutions to problems.

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