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Blog post by Angel Amayarazo

I decided to join this class because I wanted to experience what it was like to participate in a research class where I could learn and discover what a research lab is all about . I came in with a fair amount of knowledge on how to do some of the planned experiments such as doing gel electrophoresis and PCR purification I cannot emphasize how much I love doing labs like these, especially because the ones that involve DNA and DNA sequencing, which I found to be the most interesting to learn in my previous AP Biology and Project Lead The Way classes.

The day I best remember was the one in which we did PCR purification. This was probably one of the most confusing labs because it was very easy to mess up one of the steps where you dump the flow through, which are the impurities that didn’t latch on to the spin column and fells to the bottom of the tube, and instead you discard what was in spin column, which has what we want. I thought that I was going to make that mistake! thank goodness we worked carefully from the written protocol,asked Ashley just in case, and I made sure to also check in with my partners too. But besides being one of the most confusing labs in the class I also remember it as one of the most enjoyable ones since we used the microcentrifuge so much that day, and for those brief moments, I felt like an actual scientist working on something important.

What you learn throughout the class is that mistakes happen and not everything goes as expected, which is what I thought never happened in a college lab class. This happened three times when running our gels were almost all of them failed but on the bright side, you get to redo the gels and with more practice it makes it easier. But besides the roadblocks that we encountered throughout the quarter this class has taught me what it’s like to participate in a research lab and what I should expect from it -whether it be failure or success- you can always learn from it and build upon it in the future. I learned, for one, that failure means going back and trying to figure out where things went wrong and how that could be prevented if you ever do the experiment again. This happened with our gels the last few weeks where we got no bands. From there you keep on building and building on those experiments that succeed and fail, such as the gel experiment that had failed on us, allowing you to see what it’s truly like to work in a research lab and know what to expect as you progress throughout the years.

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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