Wednesday, May 13, 2015
The final research proposal presentation was definitely my favorite assignment. In this project, Hannah and I were able to team up and build upon the mind-blowing application of the M13 phage. Because we were both so interested in our topic, it definitely made it more enjoyable to do the work for the assignment.
Our research proposal idea was kind of mumble jumbled at the start. We had a rough idea of what we wanted to do based on a paper discussing the hydroxyapatite nucleation of M13 phage and the assembly of the phage to form a bundle…but we got stuck at one crucial step. Initially, we first thought that we could create a scaffold purely of M13 phage and hydroxyapatite and would attach it to an area of broken bone, hoping that the scaffold would help stimulate bone growth and repair. The main problem that was making our proposal unfeasible was the step of how we would take the scaffold of M13 phage and attach it to the bone. After thinking of doing so in the form of hydrogels, paste, and other forms, we decided to consult with Professor Belcher to receive some advice. After talking with her, she was able to provide tremendous guidance and was able to connect us with one of the graduate students in her lab, Po-Yen. Po-Yen is a grad student doing research similar to what we did in mod 3: making solar cells from M13 phage. He was extremely helpful in developing our methods section of our experiment. With his guidance, we changed our initial idea of using a phage-only scaffold to using a 3D printed scaffold. This change in scaffolds made our project suddenly so much more feasible. By pulling from some of the methods that he used for his research, he was also able to suggest some of the later steps that we used in our methods section.
Throughout the project, I thought that Hannah and I had very good teamwork. We were able to split up the topics and worked well together to bounce a lot of ideas off each other. It was definitely a pleasure to have been able to work with a partner that was super interested in this project as much as I was.
All in all, this final project was really fun. It was really cool to be able to blend what we had learned in class with other existing scientific methods. If we are given a grant to carry out our research proposal, Hannah and I may be able to develop a new (Han-Hann) method of creating enforced bone implants. (If we could actually receive grant money, I would totally be down to pursue this project :P)