Tuesday, June 23, 2009

todays lab was focused on the small stuff

wow. this year is very different from last year.

so much is new for this group of eight alumni and one first timer: college tours, horrible weather, etc. even the style of blog required has changed. i guess the new aspects of the program have come as a shock for some of us

Even though the courses aren't for credit, they're a lot more challenging.
in the morning, i had two labs. in the first one, we pipetted different amounts of food coloring dissolved in hydrogen dioxide into 1.5 ml tubes. In each tube, there was a total of 10 micro liters. then we adjusted the pipets to this amount, and withdrew that much solution to see how accurate our technique was. in two of the tubes, there was exactly ten microliters. however, in my third tube there was a little bit left over.
then, we repeated this process, except using a total of 1000 micro liters in each tube. this allowed us to work on a minute, and not so minute scale, and see how accurate we could be.
Next, we practiced sterile technique. in order to do this, we first lit a bunsen burner. then, we took a 10 ml pipet, and ran it through the flame, paying special attention to the tip. next, we took a 50 ml vial of food coloring and hydrogen dioxide, and ran the edge of the vial through the flame. finally, we withdrew 5 ml from the tube, making sure that we were sterile.

after this, we did another lab. first, we labeled four petri dishes. all of them contained agar. two of them contained an antibiotic. next, we took e. coli, and using sanitary technique again, we placed some of the e coli in each petri dish. first, we made a line of it in the petri dish. next, we sterilized the brush used for plating, and scooped up a little bit of the e. coli that we had in our first line. then, we made a zig zag line with this e. coli. then, we repeated this process until we had a square, with each side less concentrated than the previous. this will allow the sample to have individual colonies grow, as well as larger patches of the bacteria.

then, we spent about ten minutes cleaning up. almost each tool or tube we used had a different trash can that it had to be disposed in. finally, we got to leave for our lunch break.

when we returned for our afternoon session, the professor lectured about last nights reading. first she talked about the basic structure of dna, which is composed of a phosphate group at the 5', a nucleotide at the 3'. the two strands are then held together by hydrogen bonds. cytosine and guanine have three binds, while adenine and thymine have two.

next she talked about synthesis, which occurs unidirectionally starting at the 5 prime end and going towards the three prime. however, it reads the dna strand from the three to the five. thus, the strand of dna created is not a copy, but a compliment to the template strand. however, because dna is antiparallel, one strand has to copy in small segments which are then spliced together.

then she went on to rna transcription. RNA polymerase synthesizes RNA from dna. promoter sites throughout the dna strand signal the polymerase as to where it should begin replication. these promoter sites are specific sequences of nucleotides such as TATAAA or TTGACA. there are multiple kinds of dna, mRNA, rRNA, tRNA, and many others, which serve unique functions in translation—the creation of proteins. This occurs in the ribosome. every three nucleotides codes for an amino acid, of which there are twenty. these three nucleotide segments are called codon. the ribosome binds to the 5 prime end of the strand where it sees the code for methylene. the ribosome acts as a catalyst for the reactions which occur, leading to a complex polypeptide.

thus, from a single strand of dna, enzymes, proteins and rna are synthesized.
Of course, this process occurs extremely rapidly, millions of times per day in a human, so there are infinite possibilities for mistakes. if a single nucleotide is miscoded, as in the case of sickle cell anemia, death can occur.

Moving Around

I've always been a social butterfly. Always jumping from one group of friends to another, always meeting new people and usually well-liked. I think that's what has helped me to establish connections with people on my floor and around the dorms so quickly. This ability to "sell" myself as a person to others fairly quickly and prove that I'm genuine in many respects.

Which reminds me, in an obscure and maybe unrelated way, of what we learned in class. In my Intro to Macroeconomics class, we talked about Supply and Demand today. Simply put, supply and demand are inverse relationships that model the effects of quantity on prices. Well maybe that wasn't simply put, but basically, it's sort of a common sense topic. When there's more of something, and people don't want it, prices go down, when there's not a lot of something, but the demand for it is high, than prices go up.

And well relating it to my intro paragraph, there was some floor-bonding happening with my floormates and I tonight. From what I could tell, when I was in the room, the overall energy in the room increased, however at some point, it would get a little to rowdy and I would leave to get some air. When I came back, the energy of the room had decreased and everyone was asking about where I'd gone and if I had brought anymore people to the room. And then the cycle would repeat.

Which again relates back to something else we talked about in class today. Circular flow diagrams. These diagrams model how income and goods and services are transferred in a cycle from households and firms. That in a simplified perfect market, revenue and capital is always being circulated to everyone. All in all, I've learned a lot so far in class. We do homework online using this program called Aplia. There's a ton of reading and quite a few problem sets everynight, usually takes me about 1-2 hours to complete all of it.

Tomorrow morning we're doing an online experiment where we simulate a market. It's going to be done over Aplia before class which will be an interesting experience because we haven't had any type of group interaction yet. It's mostly been lectures so far.

Yesterday's Adventure

Yesterday I feel that we really bonded, and got to know each other a whole lot better. Although we were missing a couple people due to class schedules. But other then that we are getting very close, and sharing lots of adventures together. Yesterday in class we actually planned out a case study and chose a plan to manipulate just like real psychologists. Our group planned to see if the grades of students would change if they weren't able to text in class, but it was just a set up and we won't be going through with it.

We also had breakfast and lunch with our new friend Karen, she's really nice and sweet. Although I was here last year I never went to the gym, so Cynthia, Meuy, Cortney, Karen and I went to explore the huge gym that they have here at Brown after we met up with Ms.Kent. I'll have much more to say after class today! Till then.

Working in the Lab

Hello everyone! Just doing a last minute blog before I go to sleep. Today was a long day, an hour and a half of lecture in the morning not a great idea! I was so confused, I don't understant the level of vocabulary that these rising sophomores and juniors are using....I feel dumb compared to the other students in the classroom.

Thank goodness that the afternoon was so much better though. We went to the lab and looked at slides in the microscope and we had to draw and label what we saw. Today I learned about Epithelia. Sounds great doesn't it?

Didn't rain much today so I was happy about that! I got to spend more time with my lab partner Kara and some more people from my class room. A few of us from my class hung out and ate lunch to get to know each other better.

Other than reading I have to research: Andrgen Insensitirity Syndrome and present it the third week. If anyone happens to know anything about the syndrome feel free to help me out!

Carla Ramirez


Hey everyone! This is Cynthia, Meuy, Gina and Courtney! We've just finished an extra long day of class. We've spent a really long time trying to finish our homework assignments and we've decided to take a break and write a quick blog.

Other than class, we've just been doing college-student type things. We worked out today! We all went to the OMAC (the name of the gym) and explored. We tried lifting weights but all the boys stared at us funny. Ms. Kent told us that it will be warmer by Thursday which is something to look forward to.

In class today, we went over how to design experiments successfully. Afterwards, we broke into our small discussion groups and talked about the reading the previous night. It was really interesting to hear about what the other students had to say, and their insight was really valuable. We met tons of the students and we even had lunch with some of them!

After we worked out and ate, we started on homework immediately. Since we're blogging now, you should have an idea about how long it took us to do the homework. I'm glad that they're giving us this sort of work now because it'll give us time to get use to this type of workload. This is nothing like it is in high school! This is much harder.

Until next time!

Second Day

Today was pretty much like yesterday, except I got up a hour earlier. Yay for me. I went to the V-Dub and had lunch. Ran a couple of errands, or otherwise called shopping. :) When I got back to my dorm I went over my homework. Very important. I then picked up my book from this printing and copying store called Alegra. Then off to class I went. I'm stupendously glad my teacher isn't boring, because usually the time that I am in class is nap time. We also watch movies which is a great mind stimulator, or at least for me. After class my floor/class mate and I went to the V-Dub for dinner, which wasn't too bad. And now here I am, in my dorm, writing a blog. Overall today was a slightly busy but good day.


Second day of classes done. Some are very busy with reading and homework but all seem to be content and interested in classes. No problems with roommates and everyone seems to be making friends. They were all very happy to know they could get a sweatshirt, complements of ILC so they are anxiously waiting for their sizes to come in after the initial sell-out.
Yesterday I had a pleasant surprise with a phone call from Mr Ramsey, Mr Crossley and the gang at Cornell. They all sound happy and excited ( because it is hot and sunny maybe?) and it was great to touch base with them.
I spent the day organizing receipts, planning visits to nearby colleges and visiting the RISD Museum, which is just fabulous, everything from Picasso and Monet to Warhol and Karsh. I am going to suggest strongly that the students find the time to go, although I know they are busy.
Every Tues-Fri , at 4pm, Brown hosts a class called "College Success Series". Some of the topics are "Transition to College Writing", "Finding your voice in Class" and "Managing the College Workload" The sessions are repeated weekly so I have required that the students attend each
one. I am sure they will be very valuable. So, all is well, and will keep you posted.