The more I think about this project, the more enthused I get! I just can't believe I am here to work on it, and that I finally begin this Monday. I have less than 6 hours of sleep left, and yet I can't seem to stop reading about the gut's ph, the growth medias recipes for anaerobic and aerobic bacteria, the prebiotic food I might add to those mediums..! Both my brain and my heart are waaaay too happy to sleep :)
(And I would never have guessed they could both agree so much on something!)
I'm so incredibly lucky to be here!! (although luck might not have much to do with it ;) )
So, this Monday, we began our search for the best media for growing gut microbiota. We have at least seven different media we want to try, one of them being inspired by an article in Nature about culturomics, and two of them completely custom, using prebiotics.
Culturomics is the resurgence of physical cultures in microbiology; since genomics are getting easier and less expensive, and permits the identification on a...
At nearly 1am, I got an email from Paul Vanouse stating that I should come to his class later that day; they would be working on restriction enzymes and it would be beneficial to learn the basics, as I will be developing a protocol involving those for my project. Restriction enzymes are proteins that are used to cut DNA strands at specific locations, and are used for “fingerprinting” DNA (electrophoresis). There are A LOT of different enzymes to do this job, and when used with the same DNA, every one of them will give a different “fingerprint” pattern (electrophoresis banding pattern). So great to learn the techniques behind Paul Vanouse's iconic artworks of The Latent Image Protocol!!!
We also discussed various ways of constructing anaerobic chambers, as the traditional jars used in tht labs are not going to be that handy for this project, considering the number of plates required. The jars would mostly be too small, and too costly. So, I will have to construct my own anaerobic contain...
We’re Monday!! First day at Coalesce. Met with Solon, the guy running the lab, and Sabrina, the other artist in residence. She’s from Argentina, and working with plant DNA. It’s gonna be fun to share the lab with her! Solon and I also talked about the various options to approach my project: the different types of DNA sequencing, the resolution of various materials for the electrophoresis process, the different growing nutrients. We decided we’d get started next Monday, as the lab was needed for the Open lab and workshops on Thursday, and did not want to have my plates contaminated
The grocery stores here are H-U-G-E. It took me 20 mins just to do one aisle. But it was the cheese aisle, so that might account for the time it took me! ;-) Doing the whole place must take half a day though, even if you’re not loitering in the cheese section. No wonder they offer free daycare for shoppers…
Finally arrived at Buffalo, after 6+ hours of train, one unintelligible taxi driver, 3 hours of bus and a taxi cab that tried to convince me to use the “flat rate” of 35$ for a 20$ ride. I no longer am in Montreal, that’s for sure. (And I am probably too naïve too, thinking everyone everywhere is honest and trustworthy but that’s a story for another day.)
At the Aibnb, I was offered to take the attic as my room, as I would be staying five weeks and might enjoy the larger living space. I love attics.