Thursday, January 20, 2011

Taiwan - The end is nigh pt. 1

2012 or some crap, right?

Soon to be back in the States blog.

There's a couple of things on my mind right now. I'll spare you my worries about getting hired anywhere anytime soon, as well as all the other weird and wonderful rites of leaving never-never land.

Right now, the group is Taipei again after spending the first portion of the week in Taizhong. We're in the process of scrambling to squeeze in as many last minute research projects, touring, and pictures as possible. This may or may not be because of the -20 degree weather that we get to look forward to if our flight somehow lands on the ice rink that is the MSP airstrip.

Our time in Taizhong was a bit of a mixed bag. We arrived on Sunday and mostly rested the rest of that day. Monday and Tuesday were spent doing more surveys of the TCM compounds we received from Drs. Cheng and the coral extracts from the NMMBA. It's a four day protocol, and because we had to leave for Taipei today, I got to try and carry three 96-well plates wrapped in tin foil and whatever else I could find to keep them from spilling in taxis, buses, and subways. It was worth it though, as the extra time allowed the embryos to be perfectly treated by most of the chemicals and we found a few new effective compounds to look at. Considering that Dr. Huang's model has been used to survey several hundreds of chemicals and only found two or three really promising drugs, this is pretty exciting.

We also took another stab at using the anti-AA antibodies we got from Dr. Yu at the Zhongshan Medical University. Unlike the survey, this has yet to really come to fruition. We've got a few kinks to work out still, some of which are quite interesting. One example of this is our use of the optical equipment at Tunghai University. In order to get better resolution and clarity, we've been using something called a confocal microscope. Basically, it builds a topographical map of a sample. By taking away layers and isolating certain areas, a confocal microscope allows us to see things that would be hidden when using a normal light microscope. In layman's terms, it's like looking through batman's microscope. I really like seeing all that those things can do, although it's good to keep in mind that we still have a small laundry list of other experiments to do with the anti-AA antibodies. Once we're back at our own lab, I plan to take full advantage of the very generous supply of antibodies from Dr. Yu.

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