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Blog post by Anoop Kaur Sidhu

The first year seminar I have decided to take part in this quarter has introduced me to
procedures that are unlike any other labs I have been apart of. I am now a sophomore and had
taken General Chemistry along with its corresponding labs throughout last year. Although we
aimed for accuracy with measuring our chemicals using pipets and weighing scales, our
measurements were more heuristic compared to the ones within this microbiology seminar. For
example, the pipettes used in this lab are in units of ul. 1000 ul is equivalent to 1 ml, and within
our labs we most commonly used measurements of 5,10 or 20 ul which further supports how
important precision is within these labs.

I had decided to take this class because after I had read the description, I felt that it
would be a good fit to help me be introduced to research in a healthy learning environment. Not
only did it provide a supportive platform to strengthen my foundation of research methods and
the steps to formulate hypotheses, but the focus of this seminar had also greatly intrigued me.
Bees and insects play a very instrumental part in helping our world grow and thrive as it does
today. It really has served its purpose thus far in helping me expand my thinking and
understanding as something as interesting yet and new to me as microbiomes.

When I had attended an open lab outside of class hours I was granted to assist in
making the LB broth that we would be using for our overnight procedure.We added the same
amount of sugar into the broth to replicate the sugar in the nectar from the flowers. However
adding the sugar to our broth did not facilitate bacterial growth!. We lit burning lamps to
circulate air flow and direct microbes/bacteria away from our solutions in addition to our
disinfecting our countertops with alcohol. The purpose of the making overnight bacterial culture
in the LB broth is to multiply the amount of bacteria we have in a sample. Therefore,
contamination plays a very big role in how it might affect our results.

Open lab was a good way to learn in a controlled but constructive environment. The class TAs
and class instructors welcome all questions and which I appreciate greatly. I am always asking
questions and learn most when I ask not just one question but usually a follow up question for
clarity. They create an environment of comfort in making it feel like a discussion or two sided
conversation. The instructors/ supervisors of this class really take the time to simplify complex
ideas with examples and comparisons helping me feel like I am capable of working with and
understanding some of these complex ideas. This environment is very different from traditional
labs and lectures because of the aspect of comfort I feel.

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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