Saturday, 8 December 2007

Getting inertia again.. suddenly don't feel like leaving san diego and go home. 3 weeks might not be that short after all

Al was introducing Gateway cloning the other day.. and i felt that we're quite suaku for not knowing about this earlier. Basically you clone using homologous recombination instead of ligation. No more worrying about low efficiency ligations, just PCR and recombine.

P was presenting about the complex. Looking at where she's going, she's really going to get a Cell paper. Now she thinks that my protein is a substrate for hers.. why didn't you tell me any of these before? Whatever.. Now you can go KO ur own gene and work it out.. maybe after the phosphatase gets KO-ed. I believe that my new gene does something too.
1 thing I have to admit about this woman. She's capable. She wants to be a PI and is definitely working towards it. I can imagine her being a PI and she would be quite good at it, though she might be a micromanager. Already, she's presenting her work as if it's the most impt thing in the world..

I can't make up my mind. Every time I hear a new thing, or someone speaks enthusiastically about something, I get interested. The other day I heard about an interesting mechanism how G proteins get turned on and affect their effectors. Suddenly biochem sounds appealing again, imagining how things work at the molecular level was very fun. But I'm pretty sure I don't want to be a biochemist. I guess the only good thing is that I'm allowing the many options to stay open..

More bio talk. Had the symposium for Embryology lab. It's absolutely a party, with all kinds of exotic snacks from Trader Joe's, lots of Cuties and champaigne! Champaigne in class, can you believe it? Anyway many people did very amazing experiments and got very fantastic results. RA and ethanol produced some pretty screwed up tadpoles. But the most impressive results are the transplants and ablations. This group chopped off the tail of a young tadpole and transplanted into the belly of another. The host grew to have 2 tails and the donor lived without a tail. Another group did something even more amazing. They chopped a young tadpole into 2 (anterior and posterior), rotated the 2nd part of the embryo 180 degrees and allowed the tadpole to heal. Guess what? The tadpole managed to heal and the 2 body parts stuck to each other and formed a complete tadpole! And what's more fantastic was that the spinal cord moved from the top of the embryo in the front to the bottom of the embryo at the back cos the tail region was rotated 180 degrees. The heart was displaced to the side and the anus was on top of the tadpole instead of the bottom. I thought that was the most amazing result of the day. Very creative experiment.

Of course our results were way too cool too. We produced 2 headed tadpoles by transplanting the organizer of an early frog gastrula to the ventral region of another gastrula. And our 100% survival rate was way too impressive. I don't know how we got such successful results but we did. The other organizer transplant groups had pretty sad results. Maybe it's really because my side of the lab is warmer.

Controls. The one on top is a normal tadpole. The round ball is the donor of an Organizer (organizer sends out signals to pattern the embryo). The one at the bottom is a negative control where we stuffed a piece of non-organizer tissue into the spot where we normally put the organizer.

2 headed tadpoles!! And a 2-tailed one. We were escatatic when we saw these.
Yay! Felicia and I with our prof.

Friday, 7 December 2007


December 7, 2007
SAN DIEGO: The FBI is asking for the public's help in identifying who planted a fake bomb that led to the evacuation of University of California San Diego medical school buildings at the La Jolla campus Wednesday.

Authorities made public yesterday a letter left by the Animal Liberation Front, an animal rights group that claimed responsibility for planting the fake bomb. Authorities also released a recording of a bomb threat phoned to the university.

“We are asking the public to look at the font, word usage and misspelled words that could help identify the author,” Special Agent Darrell Foxworth said. “Listen to the words used, the pace of speech and background noise to identify . . . who made the phone call.”

The first call, received Tuesday night, threatened the university's animal research program.
On Wednesday morning, a letter was delivered to UCSD, along with two telephone calls that claimed the group would detonate explosive devices at campus research buildings.

About 10:30 a.m., a UCSD employee found a suspicious package in the Leichtag Family Foundation Biomedical Research Building that authorities later determined was a fake device made to look like a bomb.

Medical school buildings were evacuated but reopened that evening.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Joint Terrorism Task Force at (858) 565-1255 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-TIPS (8477). –J.L.J.
~ San Diego Union Tribune

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Friday was a phenomenal day. Firstly it rained. 50.3mm of rain in one day. Where did all the water come from? There were threats of mudslides in those places which were burnt a month back.

Secondly and most importantly. Friday was the day when I confirmed that I've got knockouts. Woohoo! Finally managed to knock a gene out of Dicty. I could almost forget that Susan practically did the whole thing for me.. So the expts and learnings finally start. A was doing Southerns and developed right after me and we couldn't help peeking at his film and gloating over how much cleaner our film looked. It's absolutely terrible of us, terrible ethics..

Then went to look at my transplants. There's a slight chance of a head developing. But there are many other good transplants. I was rather efficient on Thurs.. Now I just have to worry about how to explain all the strange developments.. I think I've got a tadpole with 3 tails. Bizarre.

And then went for a TA party organised by my Metabolic prof. So nice of him. He has a very nice house. It would be such a shame if it was eaten up by the fire. The walls are filled with paintings that he collected all over the world, he has a huge garden of different plants, including a full-grown macademia tree. We had some wonderful fresh macademia nuts. His collection of orchids is amazing, so is his collection of books and pictures on Indian history. I have decided that I need a hobby. If a professor who has to teach and manage a lab and has a family can find time to do gardening every weekend and take care of the orchids and collect all kinds of art pieces, I think I can manage a hobby. Talked to all the TAs and the significant others. These people love being TAs, they teach over and over and over again. Wow, we need these dedicated people to teach. And I realised that even though the department is huge, at the end of the day, I've kind of met each person at some place or other. Took the same class together or they were my TA or something.. Everyone kind of knew each other. Had a good time socializing. Of course it helps that the prof is someone who talks non-stop.

Went to judge for high school speech and debates today. Can't help feeling that I might have screwed some kid up badly by not being a good judge. The preliminary rounds were pretty easy to judge. It was quite obvious who would win.. But I tried judging for the octa-finals, and oh wow, they were good. Hope I made the right decisions. These kids are very good. This girl had an impromptu speech topic of "Cheese". What would you say? Talk about cows and milk and calcium? She talked about smiling during photos and how Americans don't smile enough. And when the timer counted down "3, 2, 1", she said "Cheese!" and smiled. How much more creative and appropriate could you get?