Debbie Knight

Archive for June, 2012|Monthly archive page

Photo of the Week

In photo log on June 27, 2012 at 9:00 am

The pictures above were taken a few years ago when my lab went to a scientific conference in Reno, Nevada. We decided we should try our luck at raising research funds at the slot machines. The photo at the top is of the three of us pulling the handles on the slot machines at the airport. The bottom photo is of my boss “winning” at a slot machine at a casino in our hotel.
(We got in trouble for taking a photo in the casino. Oops!)

It was my first time to a gambling town, and for some reason I found myself mesmerized by the slot machines. I could be found at the slots at every session break. Of course it took my lab mates a few search missions but eventually they figured out I could be found somewhere in the sea of slot machines.

Note: we didn’t come home with our pockets overflowing with casino dollars. We were way too conservative  with our betting strategies to make the trip lucrative. But we did come home with a little pocket change.

The reason I’ve posted these photos here today?

My boss and I (and our chemistry collaborator) are headed to Las Vegas for a scientific conference. So once again we’ll try raising research money — although this time, the need for research dollars is much greater than it was a few years ago. Will we bet any differently this time? Probably not, although I think I’ll hit the roulette wheel or the blackjack tables instead of the slots this year.

Of course, it all depends on how long the breaks are between sessions and how close the casino tables are to the conference rooms.

Wish me luck!
(We need the funding!) 

Photo of the Week

In photo log on June 20, 2012 at 9:00 am

This vial holds billions if not trillions of  nanoparticles. Amazing that so many tiny particles can be added to water and the solution remains pretty clear.

This property is one reason the food industry is so interested in using nanoparticles in food products  — they can add nutrients without changing the clarity of a beverage, for example.

Just to get an idea of how small these particles are:  these spheres measure a mere 100 nanometers. This means it would take over 1600 trillion of the 100nm particles to fill one square inch cube (a solid cube). That’s a lot of particles.

Paths to cellular enlightenment?

In observation on June 14, 2012 at 9:00 am

I wandered down the hall, this time beyond the restroom, just to stretch my legs a little. And I stumbled across this outside of one neuroscience researcher’s lab. A series of images, all little roadmaps of various enzymes that help a signal get from the outside of a cell to the inside.

This process is called signal transduction and the more scientists learn about the inner workings of a cell, the more complicated it looks — at least on paper (like we see here).

And apparently the researcher qualifies his wall display as “interesting.” This suggests to me that there may be more molecular roadways that haven’t been included here.

All I can say is “wow” as I look at how bustling this cellular neighborhood looks.

Photo of the Week

In photo log on June 12, 2012 at 9:00 am

Ah, the slide folder.

A lonely existence. Laying quietly on a lab shelf, waiting to be used.

Unless you’re in a clinical pathology department.

At least once a week a mass departmental email will land in my inbox requesting that any unused slide folders be returned to the clinical labs — they are running critically low. Again.

Sometimes they serve as reminders to the pathologists to return the slides (in their respective slide folders) to the clinical labs when they are done with reporting clinical findings. But I’ll tell you, after working for a pathologist a few years ago, the slides (in their slide folders) will pile up on shelves in their offices. The work complete, the histology slides just needing to find their way back to the lab that stores them.

So where did I find this stack of empty slide folders?

I found them in our neuropathology office  just down the hall from me. While they don’t process and stain specimen slides on my floor any more, they do still store them here.

You can see in the photo below just a small sample of the slides stored in these archives. In the photo, you can only see maybe a hundred patient cases (sitting in those four slide drawers on the left in the photo), but this room has thousands of them filed numerically in specially-designed slide filing cabinets. I can only imagine what the main department’s slide room looks like.
(I wonder if that’s where the slides from one of my biopsies is stored)

Photo of the Week

In photo log on June 6, 2012 at 10:39 am

This is a photo of our chemistry collaborator’s research lab area — an obvious display of team spirit.

Easily be seen from the other end of the hallway, it serves as a reminder to all who enter the labs that they are part of something bigger.

Way to go, Team Dutta!