End of the Project

Microbiology research is a step-by-step process that continues to build on newly discovered information.  The Huddleston Research Lab was in the beginning stages when I started this past summer.  As a part of the team, Kathryn, Zack, and I picked up where Dr. Huddleston had left off and set up the ACU portion of microbiology research.  Mini goals were set along the way, and several of them were accomplished.  I was able to perform gene sequencing, and determine the gene sequence for the tapY1 gene through Polymerase Chain Reaction and Gel Electrophoresis.  I created primers and successfully amplified Product A, B, and C for use in the Splice Overlap Extension PCR.  When I reached the end of my time in the lab, I was still working on the SOE-PCR, trying to obtain the full sequence of Product ABC.  Summer Research is definitely more manageable and productive than research during the semester.  It is very difficult coordinating schedules and finding the time to run multiple PCR’s and gels.  This was a year of learning to help future researchers collaborate and run experiments on started projects and be able to gauge their time in the research lab.


Research has been a wonderful opportunity to deepen my scientific knowledge by performing procedures discussed in the classroom.  This has opened my eyes to understanding more fully the message the textbooks are trying to relay.  I am starting Dental School in July, and research could definitely be a part of my journey there.  By having experience through ACU, I will be even more prepared for this undertaking and have confidence in the skills I have learned to perform the research tasks.  Even if I do not perform research in Dental School, the hand eye coordination I have worked on through pipetting and setting up tiny tubes will be extremely beneficial to my career.  I was surprised at how many times PCRs must be run over and over to obtain the appropriate results.  Also, I became very frustrated with ethidium bromide gels in the end of my research.  An unusual red line decided to interrupt the results I was hoping to obtain.  If only I would have had more time to research this phenomenon, but I left my research in a great spot for the next research assistant to resume.  It was sad turning in my lab notebook, but I feel as though I accomplished quite a bit the past year, and I am excited to see how the tapY1 gene sequence natural transformation research persists in the future.


I learned valuable skills through performing research.  I was extremely nervous on my first day in the lab because everything was unfamiliar to me.  After learning the specific techniques and repeating reactions over and over, I slowly built confidence with my ability to execute the research efficiently.  I became very aware that research is full of mistakes, and that it is ok to make them because it is part of the learning experience.  Dr. Huddleston was very patient with me and encouraged me every step of the way!  She was a wonderful mentor, and anyone in the science department at ACU would be lucky to do research with her.  Through experimentation and analyzing the effectiveness of different methods, our research lab deducted the best resources to use for the procedures we were undertaking.  Hopefully, the future researchers will be set with certain protocols and kits to make their research run smoothly.

Kristen Presentation

I had the opportunity to present my research as a poster presentation at ACU’s Undergraduate Research Festival.  I thoroughly enjoyed creating awareness of what the Microbiology lab has been undertaking the past several months.  The effort made this past year established the foundation for research to persist and I am thankful to have been a part of it.

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