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Blog post by Malek Ajam

I was skeptical about joining this class when I first got the email advertising it. I wasn’t sure whether it was worth adding to my workload when I knew nothing about what to expect from the class. I ended up deciding to take the leap of faith, knowing that I wanted to be involved in some sort of research at UC Davis and that this seminar might serve as a stepping stone. I had no previous lab experience so the nectar microbiome seminar would give me some insight into how research labs worked and teach me some lab techniques.

One of the most memorable days was when we did PCR clean-up on our bacterial samples. I remember this procedure very well because instead of throwing out the empty spin column, I threw out the collection tube that contained the amplified DNA. When I realized the mistake that I made I was extremely disappointed, but then it dawned on me that this is what I signed up for. I was going to make mistakes, which I would only learn from.

I really enjoyed running the samples in a gel, a procedure known as gel electrophoresis. We have previously talked about this procedure in high school, but it was great to finally do it in a lab instead of just watching a simulation. It was very satisfying to see the gel light up with bands showing the different length of the DNA fragments.

I have no regrets in taking the class as I have never taken anything like it before; it has been a unique and refreshing experience and I have truly learned a lot from it.

David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

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