Friday, July 8, 2016

Lab Internship: Week 1

During my first week at Kathryn Miller-Jensen's lab, I actually accomplished more than was expected.  I learned how the lab conducts experiments, how they grow their test cells, and how they make the microfluidic devices used in the experiments.  Victor Wong, one of the research students, taught me how to culture and grow jurkat cells-an immortalized lineage of T cells-so they can use those immune cells to test how they respond and communicate when introduced to HIV.  Victor explained that when introduced to HIV, cells responds and secrete differently due to biological noise, meaning that even if cells are genetically identical, they act differently because of gene expression and proteins.  Laura and Victor both showed me how to make the microfluidic devices used by creating a PDMS solution and making a mold of the device using a master slide that holds the design.  The PDMS solution was created by mixing a chemical and a curing agent together and spinning the bubbles out of the mixture with a centrifuge so the bubbles would not affect the device.  If bubbles were present, and they almost always were, we used a gas pump to pump out the bubbles and used a air hose to pop them.  Victor and Laura baked the solution in an oven at 80˚C for 2 hours and cut out the devices with scalpels and blades.  After, they stored them in containers for further use.  


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