Monthly Archives: October 2013

Plan from here

So on Monday, I had phage on all 5 plates from 10^0 to 10^-4. 10^0 and 10^-1 were webbed, and I had many on 10^-2. For the next part of my experiment I picked a plaque from 10^-4 and did a dilution once again. Tomorrow I will do the same thing, so that I can purify the phage. Tomorrow will be my 2nd purification, and next week on Monday will be my 3rd purification. I am so excited to be finally on my way to purifying and isolating a phage!

New Discovery

So I was taking a break from studying and surfing the internet when I came across a really interesting article! A national geographic research team went to the top of Cape Melville, a mountain range in norther Australia that has been cut off from the rest of the world for centuries. While on this cliff they found 3 new species of animals, like obvious ones too! The picture below shows where in Australia they were searching and the 3 species they found. Nat Geo said that they will be sending another expedition there within the next several months to look for smaller species.




Today’s lab work took only 20 minutes…WOW. I have purified my phage four times; therefore, today I simply flooded my plate with phage buffer! I would say today was a successful and rewarding day in the lab…:)

Not your average day in lab!

So I was expecting to just walk in and do my last plaque assay and be on my way last Wednesday.  So I walked in and found that there appeared to be more than one phage on my plates (still??) so I had to pick both the “halo’ed” and the “non-halo’ed” plaques and see if they are two different types! This meant I had to do 10 plates of plaque assays to get the question answered no big deal… yet. As I was diluting my samples and labeling my plates it seems that people were walking around and asking to borrow a bit more than normal, so came out of my world of pipetting to find that we were running out of TA, and pretty fast. So then after what feels like a longer story that it probably was, I ended up doing two streak tests and two plaque assays to account for our lack of TA. I stopped by the lab on Friday and it looks like the two plaques might be the same thing! So in the end at least I got to really learn how to do a streak test. But! i’m ready to move on and flood!

99 Problems (but a phage ain’t one)

Finally! It seems that most of us in the lab are in the stages of purifying. This is so exciting.  Pretty soon we’re going to be sequencing our own, individual, cute little phages! Go us.

Since this is a late post, it’ll probably be a pretty lengthy one.. I’ll try not to be so boring.

On Monday’s lab, I found out that my group’s Phage Buffer had been contaminated. (Curse you, contamination!)  So, I’m sure you all know what that means.. EVERY plate was contaminated.

My 10^0 plate was completely contaminated, while the rest of the plates had these dots of contamination.  Literally like perfect randomized polka-dots.  Cool stuff.

However, I was able to pick an isolated phage from my 10^-3 plate, a tiny little area that was pretty far from contamination!  If you look really, reaaaally closely, you can see the lysed area between the “(6)” and the date.

Hope everyone is having no issues with contamination! It seriously is a pain in the butt.


I am very proud to announce that I have finaaaallly found a phage! Despite the dearth of 7H9 Wednesday, Sierra and I were able to do plaque assays, so hopefully we have positive results on Monday!

The Legacy of Dr. McClelland

On an unrelated note, I attended a lecture by Dr. Robert N. McClelland tonight and he told us his story of how he operated on both John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald back in 1963. Dr. McClelland explained every detail of what occurred in the operating room on November 22, 1963 in Parkland Memorial Hospital. The riveting story of how a calm Jackie Kennedy walked in to the room of her husband and say goodbye and how a couple days later he was doing surgery on the man who shot the president of the United States himself. It was an eye-opening experience and he even showed us the shirt that Dr. McClelland wore when operating on the president which still has JFK’s blood stains. Even though it doesn’t have anything to do with our phages research, I thought I would just share my experience with this legend in medicine.

Moving Right Along

Quick update on my phages, I am almost done with the purification process and am not having any difficulties so far. Yesterday, there was a shortage of top agar and people were unable to move forward. However, I was a little selfish and took up the rest of my group’s leftover top agar so I ended up finishing up pretty early. Come Monday, my plaques will hopefully look the same and I can finish up the purification process. Nitish, out.

Starting with Msmeg phage

Wednesday was proof that miracles do happen. On my last plate I found a phage! Now with my luck, it had contamination, but I was able to pick some phage from my plate. I diluted it to 10^-4 and will be ready to start the next procedure on Monday. I also use LB broth for my Msmeg. It is going to be interesting how that pans out, but it might work. We did not have any 7H9 top agar, so Dr. Adair said I should use the LB broth.

One thing that is confusing me is where the contamination is coming from. It is not the phage buffer because my control square was fine. The only other logical explanation is the top agar, but I am not sure if it is from the top agar, or the environment. I am going to just have to play around and work with it some more.


I have finished all three rounds of purification and yesterday I flooded my 10(-1) plate. My phages are extremely small but there are hundreds on each plate. The top agar on my 10(-3) plate slide so I had to count my 10(-2) plate instead and there were 795 phages! By the time I had finished counting I was seeing little dots everywhere! I have been trying to think of names for my phage so I would have some ideas when the time comes but it’s really hard, I think I may just pick a name from a hat at random because I can’t decide!

Thinking Simply…

Many times when I am lab, I always think that we are doing a very complicated process. In other words, I always just assume that I just need to follow every instruction because I am too stupid to know what else to do. However, I thought that the directions told me to pick multiple plaques as I was purifying the sample. I did not even think twice about it. I just figured, “Well, if the directions told me to do it…then I might as well do it.” Finally after my third purification I thought about what I was doing. I thought to myself, “Why am I just following the directions without understanding fully what I am doing? Why would I pick multiple plaques if my goal is to purify ONE phage?” I only then realized that I needed to purify all over again, picking just one plaque…following what is logical. This was a crucial lesson for me to learn, that especially in a lab, I should not do anything until I understand what and why I am doing it.