Author Archives: katelynpruett

I love you all!

I just wanted to thank everyone for a great year. You all are such a blessing in my life, and I’m glad to have gotten to know all of you. Good luck on finals, and I’ll see you next Saturday!

The Final Countdown

As we all continue reviewing for our final, I just wanted to share a study habit that is effective for me. Because I already know the information, I just need to refresh my mind; youtube videos are extremely helpful. Crash Course Biology is one of my favorite channels, but if you type in the name of the chapter you’re reviewing, you will get lots of great videos and lectures. Another one of my favorite finds is the geologic time song video (see my earlier blog post). Good luck studying guys!

New Fertility Proteins Identified

Researchers from the Sanger Institute have recently identified two of the proteins involved in mammalian fertilization. The sperm protein, named Izumo after a marriage shrine from Japan, and the egg protein, named Juno after the Roman goddess of fertility, are two key components to having the egg and the sperm bind. Twenty percent of infertility cases have no known cause, and lack of these proteins might help to explain these mysteries. Researchers also theorize that Juno has a role in the formation of the fertilization envelope. Since we just studied this, I thought it was very interesting!

Independent Project

Today, Olaf’s Fan Club finished making the presentation for the final project. We researched Arthrobacter clusters, and I’m very excited to share what we found with the class. I’m so thankful for my group and for this class. Y’all are the best, and I love you guys!

Z is for Zebra: Why Zebras have Stripes

Tim Caro and his colleagues from the University of California at Davis believe that they have answered the age old question of why zebras have stripes–they believe the stripes ward off bugs. These scientists did extensive geographic testing on different equis species, using phylogeny to compare the major hypothesis for cause behind the stripes. After determining that the stripes were likely insect repellents, they did testing with tsetse flies and tabanid biting flies, discovering that there is indeed correlation between pattern and where the bugs landed. Apparently flies do not like stripes.


Read their article here:

Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers from Harvard University have recently discovered a protein thought only to be used in the womb in elderly subjects. This protein, which they are calling REST, protects the fetal brain during development and was previously thought to disappear after birth. However, their study shows that elderly adults without Alzeimer’s disease have a high level of this protein. It will be interesting to observe what types of therapies come from this discovery.

Here is the article:

Geologic Time Song

Dr. Adair said that many of us struggled with the geologic time scale on our last test. This video help me IMMENSELY when studying that information for the test, and I thought it might be helpful for the final as well. Also, it has lots of dinosaur animations, which is always exciting.

Science affirms what I tell my mom: I don’t need a jacket because shivering burns calories

Recent scientific articles confirm that shivering and being cold does indeed help burn fat. An article from Cell Press gives details about Irisin and FGF21, which are cold-induced endocrine activators of brown fat. There are several different types of fat in the human body, and while brown fat is not typically located in the areas that people are trying to lose weight, it can definitely contribute to fitness and overall health. In another article, scientists recommend increasing cold exposure to help promote the burning of brown fat, as one would work out to promote increased metabolic activity. These scientists believe that the burning of brown fat may increase the rate of burning of white fat.

So instead of complaining about this bitterly cold wind, let’s be thankful that we are getting in shape for spring break.

Here is an interesting summary of the article:


Monkeypox Virus

When we shared viruses the other day in class, we ran out of time before I had the chance to tell you all about the monkeypox virus. Made of double-stranded DNA, it is of the poxviridae family, putting it in the same family as cowpox and smallpox. This virus can affect animals, such as monkeys and prairie dogs, as well as humans. It can be transmitted through a bite or fluid contact, and its incubation period is ten to fourteen days long. It undergoes a lytic cycle for replication. While there have been very few cases of monkeypox in the US, it is something to watch out for while traveling in Africa.

Oxytocin can Help Autistic Children

I read the article at and found it very interesting. It is about how a nasal spray of oxytocin can help autistic children. I really liked this article because my best friend’s little brother is autistic, so I am always interested in new treatments for these sweet kids.

Why I Suck at Blogging

I’ve never been the type to openly share my emotions and frustrations. And this semester has been frustrating. However, it has also been extremely rewarding.

After adopting Walker’s phage, I experienced several problems. The first week, I accidentally used the wrong TA. After correcting my mistake, I went through several rounds of purification. My phage had two morphologies- large plaques with halos and small plaques without halos. I went through five rounds of purification to make sure I had one phage. I then began to calculate my titer, and experienced more problems. Once my phage did not lyse at all, and there was contamination on another plate. After making my ten plates, only four of them webbed; the others barely lysed. Luckily I had enough lysate to continue with the procedure. I made my EM grid, and got to look at my phage. After spending fifteen minutes trying to find my phage, the one grid that had it contained a broken film. The picture was too fuzzy to retain an image.

While these events have frustrated me to no end, I have also realized how much I love being in the lab. When I have a bad day, I go and check on my phage. I do not like being vocal about my frustrations because I am determined to overcome them and persevere. I also am not bothered by the failure I have experienced. In my opinion, research is not a pass or fail subject. I am encouraged by the passion I am developing, and I am determined to persevere.

Phage Finally!

After checking my phage in Dr. Gibbon’s lab after class today, I was delighted to discover that one of my samples has plaques! I am excited to begin purification on Monday. What a reminder that hard work yields rewards to the patient and persevering.

Reflections on my First Two Weeks in Lab

Coming from a high school with tight funding and a lab with only the most basic equipment, I felt completely lost the first couple of days in lab. I was constantly asking myself, “What is a ___? I’m supposed to what?” After reading the lab manual and understanding little of the procedure, I was very anxious for the labs. However, now, after two weeks of labs, I feel much more comfortable. I am learning so much, and I am having a great time doing the research and making new friends. The opportunity to participate in global research as an undergraduate is priceless, and I am so grateful for this class.

One of the things that excites me most about scientific research is the fact that we do not know all the answers—it is a mystery. Mystery excites me, and I believe that humans are called to pursue mystery and knowledge. Proverbs 2:3-6 says, “If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” I am in lab, ready and willing to learn, chasing mystery, and hoping to glorify God in all that I do.

So as we continue to attempt to isolate a phage sample, I am going to remember that patience is a virtue. I am learning basic laboratory techniques that will be useful throughout my career. One of the most important things I have learned so far is that science is a process that takes time and dedication. I am excited to see how this year affects my life, our class, and the world.