January 4, 2007

My first

I suppose for my first entry I will introduce myself. I am currently a Junior at the university of Minnesota-TC studying Biology and minoring in chemistry. I was recently denied from the College of pharmacy school at the U, which I will surely talk about in a later blog entry. I am also recently engaged to a beautiful lady that is very important in my life and whom has allowed me to become a much better person academically as well as personally. We have a wild border collie named Libby that is going to be turning the big 1 on January 17. She is great to have around in more ways than one. I am always amazed how she is able to tell what kind of mood either of us are in, and she acts accordingly. Right now she is staring out our fifth floor window down at the people, birds, cars, airplanes, and snow below. She's a good friend to us both. My fiance recently graduated from Carlson School of Mangagment and is now working as a gymnastics director and part-time nanny. She of course, loves working with kids and in her last year of college she realized that business school wasn't what she wanted to do. By that time is was too late to change her major and just finished up with little enthusiasm for school. The situation for myself is much different. I love going to school, I love learning new things, I love the world of science, and I love all of my classes. I was feeling a little heartbroken when I found out that I didn't get into the pharmacy program, but I was taking a chance and applying before I got my degree. I still have other schools around the country that I'm waiting to here from, but the U was my first choice for more than one reason. I will definitely keep my blog updated on my situation with the other schools. I recently fell in love with a college in Michigan called Ferris State. It seems like a perfect fit for me and my up-and-coming family. I go to school full-time as well as working at a pharmacology lab here at the University. I was lucky enough to snag this job about a year and a half ago where I started soley cleaning glassware. I recently just trained in a new person to take that over and I now conduct experiments and perform dissections for my job. I love it. I make my own schedule and I get to learn all kinds of new things about research procedures, drugs, neurons, etc. It becomes a little stressful at times, but there isn't much that isn't really stressful at this point in my life. Thats my life in a nut shell.

Here We Are

puppy love.jpg

January 5, 2007

Another Day

My cells were contaminated. I spent all week preparing for an experiment at work and I got there today and I had a bunch of yeast growing in my neurons. That is depressing. I was hoping to get some good experiments in over break, but it is not looking very good at this point with only one more week left of break before I start back in. Oh well, there isn't really much I can do about that. So instead of spending the day at the lab I printed off some journal articles relating to my experiments, packed up and went home and read them. It is pretty interesting the stuff that I get to do. I finally know about what I am actually experimenting with at work after reading those articles. I would have to say that I am becoming more interested in molecular biology as I continue to learn more about it. At work right now I have mastered the fine art of transfecting my cells using the biolistic gene gun. That took a while to get the hang of but now its a breeze. I've found that that is the way it goes at work for me for almost everything that I have learned how to do. At first it is really tough to understand and then once you do it a few times it's like you could do it in your sleep.
So now for the sake of me remembering what I just read about in those articles I'm giong to summarize what I am working with at the lab, so if anyone is actually reading this and doesn't want to bored to death, I would suggest discontinuing reading this entry.
Here we go: So I begin by transfecting my DRG cells. This is done by coating gold with a specific mutant gene called presenilin 1 (PS1) D257A, which is thought to be related to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease. After I do this I used the gene gun to blast my neurons with the gold hoping that the cells with pick up the naked DNA and incorporate that into their genome. To make sure that the transfection was a success, I actually co-transfect my cells with another gene that transcribes and translates a green fluorecing protein wich is used as a marker for a cell that was able to pick up the naked DNA. Now, this D257A gene is thought to be involved in several different aspects of Alzheimer's. One of the important hypotheses is that it leads to Beta-amyloid protein build up in a person's brain through the use of gamma-secretases' processing of the amyloid precursor protein. This apparently plays an important role in altering the Calcium concentrations released by the endoplasmic reticulum, which may lead to capacitative calcium entry and is currently not known to occur in neurons. That is about all I could get from reading those articles because much of it was well over my head and out of my league.

January 11, 2007

What a night

I just finished watching the president's speech. I dont know what to think about everything. It seems like no matter what our country ends up doing regarding the situation in Iraq that there will be no positive outcome. What I don't understand is how the US has to take all of this into our own hands. Why don't the countries in the area that the President mention as allies such as Egypt and Lebannon, do anything to try and relsolve, or at least voice an opinion on Iraq. Does anyone really want us there? Should we just leave the mess that we created? Should we send in more troops that will surely lead to more US soldier casualties? I can't decide. I generally feel like the President--and not just President Bush-- but any president that is leading our country, knows what the best thing for our country is to do. Tonight, I felt like the President's speech was not one that showed confidence in his resolution.
Looking back over the past six years with President Bush as our Commander in Chief, it surely hasn't been an easy road. No body seems to remember that feeling after 911 when everyone felt so enraged that a terrorist group was able to simply take over a plane and kill thousands of American people. Our President has done what he thought was best from the beginning. It is easy to look back and say, "hey, that wasn't the best way to handle that." But I would like to say to them, " would you like to have made a decision at that point in time about what actions to take?" It is so easy to look back, but remember how difficult it is to look forward.