Friday, July 6, 2012

     Hi Everyone!  This is week one of my experience at BU participating in the RET program.  Assimilation of information on my job this summer needed to be immediate.  My teacher partner, Stephanie, and I stepped into some fascinating research work that is taking place under Dr. Unlu's direction.  We work, so far, with a Post Doc, Carlos, and a grad student, George, and they have been our window into this intriguing world of research.
      Carlos began showing us how to image nano-sized spots on microchips using the LED IRIS machine in the lab located in room 716.  The spots contain attached antibodies, being prepared to receive viruses that we all hope will be caught by these antibodies.  This first round of imaging documents what is on these spots before the experiment of introducing viruses begins.  Yesterday was our first experience doing this on our own and the learning curve was amusing: 30 min. (first time)  to 5 min. (last time) to locate the spots on the chip.  By the end of the day on 7/5 George was showing us how to "spot".  This involved using the "spotting" machine which to me is an engineering wonder because it allowed us to program it to place a series of antibody dots, also in the nanometer range, on the tiniest microchip.
     In the end, these antibodies will attach to the viruses and the team will be able to identify them using photons.  Amazing stuff!  I can hardly wait to share this with my students.