Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Just a reminder ...

Today I was reminded about the joys of being a researcher in the field of science and working in a lab. The practical aspect of science is the main attraction for myself and for most who are drawn to laboratory-based research. Today I was able to demonstrate the interaction of one protein isoform I am working with, with another protein. I work with two proteins which I will call A and B. Interestingly, protein B has two isoforms (call them B1 and B2). Isoforms come about when there is variation in a protein eg. A natural change in an amino acid at one particular location in a protein can lead to a different protein isoform, however most of the time the resulting protein isoform functions in the same way as the original protein. So, last year I successfully demonstrated the interaction of protein A with protein B1 (It's times like these that make it all worth-while) and today I demonstrated the interaction of protein A with protein B2. Voila! This interaction is crucial for my work and if it didn’t occur then there would be no point continuing with my research. Anyway, the point I wanted to make with this post was to say that I love the fact that when I am in the lab, I feel like a child at play. I can try one experiment and be terribly unsuccessful but then from my readings, observations and general experimentations, I can adjust one thing and get a fabulous result, like today. During my time in research and my PhD candidature, I have learnt some valuable things which I have applied to my practical work. These include: (1) not believing everything I hear; (2) questioning everything; and (3) breaking the rules (just like life in general, I guess). Before I started the above experiment, I was told that it would most likely not work but I questioned that and went ahead with my own gut feeling and consequently I got a great result. This result is extremely inspiring and encouraging, especially at this stage of my PhD.

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