Monday, 23 February 2009

Work, work, work.

So I gots me a job.

I am the new lab tech in Kevin Wilson's lab over at the U of A's biochemistry department. I'm pretty excited about it, but a little nervous at the same time. Biochemistry really isn't my background, though most of the work I'll be doing is on the molecular biology side, stuff that I am comfortable with. For the fist month or so, I'll just be doing some odd jobs; the lab needs some organization and such.

The work Dr. Wilson does is pretty interesting. He works on ribosomes. More specifically, he's interested in ribosomal translocation: the process whereby the ribosome moves along the mRNA after an amino acid has been added to the growing peptide chain. Even more specifically, he's interested in a translation factor called EF-G (elongation factor G). Once an aminoacyl-tRNA with it's attached amino acid has bound and the peptide bond formed, EF-G helps the ribosome to translocate over to the next codon after the aminoacyl-tRNA has been ejected. How EF-G helps this process is what he's trying to understand.

There's a possibility that, once I get more familiar with the techniques and experiments he is carrying out, I could get to actually help out with his research, instead of doing generic tech stuff like preparing reagents, and I might get my name on a few papers if this is the case. Definitely something to be excited about.

I'm also excited about learning some new techniques. I've done lots of DNA extraction and a little with mRNA, but I'm going to need to learn how to isolate ribosomes. It should be somewhat similar to isolating mRNA, since ribosomes are composed of RNA as well (rRNA), but they have many associated proteins (r-proteins) as well. It'll be interesting. There are other things I might need to learn like FPLC (fast protein liquid chromatography), and how to use a fluorescent microscope.

I have to meet him and the biochemistry department manager today to go over the terms of my employment and sign some contracts, etc. My start date is likely to be March 1st (or 2nd, since the 1st is a Sunday), though I wouldn't mind beginning sooner.

I'm glad to be employed though. I was getting agitated from being out of a lab for so long. Ah, the smell of β-mercaptoethanol* in the morning....

*Note: Don't purposefully smell β-ME. It really stinks, and can cause respiratory and nasal irritation if inhaled. It smells strongly of fish, if you really must know.

1 comment:

Ian said...

I'm just proud of myself that I mostly understood what you will be doing!