Welcome to the 20.109 Class Blog!
Our 20.109 Blog is here for MIT's emerging cadre of biological engineers from Course 20. The blog is for your thoughts and work and discoveries in our lab fundamentals class. By capturing your collective experiences in the subject, we hope to learn even more about the work we do -- what's working well and where we need to get better. Please see the first blog post for some important administrative information.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
My Lab Partner's Talents
One of the best parts of my semester has been my lab partner,
Ons. Throughout our 20.109 experience, we have caught ourselves doing things for
class that would seem totally crazy in any other context. In the process, we
have found out that she has some really unique talents. For your entertainment
and amazement, here is a compilation of her most memorable ones:
While designing primers for improved Influenza detection
during Module 1, Ons and I were checking that we both had the same forward and
reverse primer sequences. We were
sitting in one of the couches in a public space in the Infinite, loudly reciting
strings of As Ts Gs and Cs. Everyone must have thought that we were crazy, but
Ons was honestly quite good at it.
2- Writing labels
I have really horrible, chicken-scratch handwriting. We
found out early on in the semester that Ons should do all of the labeling for
our team’s experiments. And whenever I have attempted to take over this task,
she gives me the same look that my mom does when I try to cook and almost burn
down the kitchen.
My handwriting is marginally better than this
3- Doctor Blading
When making our dye-sensitized solar cells for Mod 3, our
team was supposed to use a blade to gently doctor blade a uniform layer of our
paste onto the solar cell. This paste was made of TiO2 mineralized gold:phage
complexes, ground with a binder and an organic solvent.
We first practiced this procedure with some glue on a
microscope slide. Of course, when I
tried doing it, it looked something like this:
Thankfully, my lab-partner extraordinaire turned out to be a
pro at this. Unfortunately, our team’s paste had a relatively high gold content
and it was therefore diluted differently than the other groups’. The
consistency of the resulting paste made it difficult to spread it evenly across,
and so our solar cell ended up having a lot of imperfections and looking something like cheese:
Our resulting device only had a 0.2% efficiency for converting
light from the “solar simulator” to electrical energy. But it was still
4-Using an old-school pipet bulb
On the first day of class, we ran through some basic lab
techniques. We had to pipet some amount of water, which I thought would be an
easy task, and then we were faced with this piece of cutting-edge MIT
I was totally daunted by this task, but apparently that contraption
was used in Ons’s school. So she led our team to successful protocol completion
and eternal glory.