Friday, September 14, 2012

The Goodman Lab

This is what the lab I'm working in looks! I'll probably spend a lot of time over this year in this small place full of test tubes, petri dishes, pipettes, and little machines. The bald gentleman in the background, heh, is Prof. Goodman.
This is a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine. I just learned about this incredible process that can replicate over 1,000,000,000 copies of the specific DNA sequence we want within an hour. The machine automatically sets up cycling conditions between 94 and 75 degree Celsius. Oh, the DNA polymerase is isolated from a bacterium from the Yellow Stone hot spring, so it can sustain the near boiling temperature when the double-stranded DNA is being denatured!
 A sign on the door that says "Manduca" (genus name of the tobacco hornworm) made up by caterpillars. I wonder if Prof. Goodman did it.
 Manduca larvae feeding on artificial diet.
 More Manduca.
 More Manduca.
 Manduca pupae.
 In the nature, those caterpillars dig into soil and turn into pupae there.
This plushie is made by a thrid-grade teacher who worked with Prof. Goodman. She never saw a wild type Manduca so she made it blue like the ones in lab. It's definitely limited edition - there are only 4 of those in the world!
 Isn't it amazing? It's got all the details of the caterpillar.
Even has the cute "tail" that characterizes the hornworm. Oh my, I just never had the chance to have a plushie like this when I was a kid.

There is a protein model on the desk that I didn't take a picture of. Prof. Goodman said it was "printed" by a very special printer that can print 3-D things. (WOW!)

I was so excited to learn that Prof. Goodman is the original scientist who discovered the juvenile hormone binding protein (JHBP) in 1970. He's been working on JHBP for more than 40 years. I mean, I've got to talk to the real scientist and do real stuff. Maybe just like my mom said, he sits beside me and explains the textbooks and the previous lab notebooks to me almost like a grandpa reading story books to his grandchild. It's inevitable that I feel privileged.

"So ... when the bacteria produce this sequence of amino acids, it will just turn into the binding protein?" I asked. "It's your job now," Prof. Goodman said, "no scientist has done that. Now we have the right bacteria. The question is whether the bacteria can fold the protein right. Your job is to stabilize the protein." Wow, it's surely exciting to work with real scientists and do real stuff; perhaps too exciting, I think I'm overloaded with excitement, anxiety, and confusion now.


  1. WOW! don't be too excited, there will have many many "works" over your imaginat, we have some words to descrition this molecular laberatory life, is " there were no different between day or night, not to say the work day or holiday. " , Good luck! Rita.

    I like that plush too, It's so cute.

  2. 好偉大的毛毛蟲,真令人嘆為觀止,製作者真的是仔細的觀察了那隻毛毛蟲。設計者有公開製作圖樣嗎?要我設計ㄧ隻這樣的立體布偶還真做不出來。

    1. 那是藝術品嗎?看起來應該是某種蛋白質。下次問教授那是什麼。