Monday, June 30, 2008

Mouse spleen!

Today was surprisingly really fun. Well not extremely fun, but not terrifying either. I got up around 6:45am and showered and then got dressed and all my stuff together to go to work at Mayo. Ate breakfast (a bowl of cereal that my dad lovingly poured for me) then made my lunch and drove to the Wal-mart parking lot to catch the bus. Got there on time, had to knock on the door for the secretary to let me in though, and saw Tobias (he and Gini are the ones I'm working with/under).

We first took care of some basics like getting me an ID card and setting it up so I can get into the building with it (won't be set up for 72 hours so that kind of sucks). I was hoping to see Jackie when we went to General Services to get the card but I didn't see her working there, she must've been on an errand. Anyway, took care of that stuff and then Gini let me work on a mini-experiment with her. "Evaluation of Antibody Activity Using an OVA Specific Proliferation Assay" is what we set up. We had to use dead mouse spleens for the cells, and we had to get the spleens out ourselves. She did the male and I did the female (after watching her do the male). It was cool, and gross. After we got the spleen out we had to smush them in a test tube to get all the cells suspended. It was cool - the rest is too complicated to explain (not to mention I don't really remember the specifics) but I got to do real lab work. That was pretty cool I think.

Actually I totally lied, before we did the mouse thing Tobias and I had a little chat in his office about what project they're going to set me up with. I'm going to try to explain it here. Basically a patient at Mayo is making tons of a certain previously unstudied antibody (too much to be normal). They discovered that this antibody serves to activate the immune system, making "sleeping" T cells turn on and find the threat and elimate it. Which is a problem when there isn't a threat, but great if there is and the immune system isn't taking care of it, such as in cancer. So they've tested the antibody on mice with tumors and the tumors go away when they get the antibody. Pretty good stuff. While they're seeing the results they still aren't entirely sure why or how it's doing that, for instance which type of T cells it's activating (there are 4-5 different types generally speaking). So that is what I'm going to be working on - finding out which type of T cell/s is/are being activated by the antibody. Neat eh?

Anyway - went to another lecture over lunch, boring stuff again but free pizza and I got to talk to Yin again. After lunch I finished up the mouse stuff and then started doing some online boring stuff I had to do (like Emergency Preparedness and Patient Confidentiality stuff). That took awhile. Then I watched Tobias do some cell cultures and finally it was time to go home (early around 4:30pm). Got home around 5 which was nice. Have tons of papers to read up on for tomorrow and its already late... but I took a nap earlier so I'm very awake. Oh ! I won't be working on the 4th of July, both Tobias and Gini are taking the holiday off so I wouldn't have anyone to babysit me. Yay! Well now I'd better either read those papers or go to bed.

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