Monday, June 7, 2010

The full lab begins with a friendly competition

Well, this was an exciting day. It started out with the arrival of the full lab. Travis and John began working at 9am this morning and quickly got busy reading for their various projects while I worked on preparing samples. (For the record, Travis was given the Nucleosome Packing project while John has been assigned to the DNA Liquid Crystal experiment.) I had a heck of a time getting the calibration solutions prepared as when I was ordering I neglected to buy a funnel for pouring solutions from a centrifuge tube to a volumetric flask. A little bit of begging over at chemistry and the help of Prof. Shelli Frey and I finished the job just a few minutes into lunch.

It was important that I finished these calibration solutions as they were needed for the afternoon competition. Basically, the idea was that Travis and John would make five solutions using their best pipetting skills. This activity had two purposes: One was to give Travis and John a chance to practice said skills. Pipetting is something that is quite easy to do but takes some skill to do right. The second and more important purpose was to see how well we could all pipette solutions and how well the machine could measure the concentrations of the various solutions.

Here are the results:

Where the highlighted values are the predicted values. Everyone did pretty well. Travis knew he had a bit of an issue when all of his volumes were a bit high, but look at that precision. John seemed right on for the most part. What concerns me more, however is how poorly even the John and my values match the predicted value.

One issue is that these samples were originally meant to be diluted by 10x. We'll try that tomorrow. I'm also planning on changing the pump tubes out and trying to take more replicates. We eventually want an accuracy of ~1%.


  1. Hahaha, who is this Josh person? It must have been him who sabotaged Travis...

  2. Apparently I was a little more out of it than I thought yesterday.

  3. Hi guys. I will be following your blog because I find this stuff fascinating and I have a vested interest in how one of your assistants is doing. (Yes John, it's me, your father) I would also like to know what practical applications your research will support. Any explanation would be appreciated. Thanks, and good luck.