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Summer’s end means leaving the lab with great memories

Week 10 August 8 – August 12, 2011

This week was the saddest week of the summer. It hit me that this program is really going to be over. Honestly, I was really sad as I had become really close friends with Abbie Ferrieri, Douglas Kenny, Guy Jackson, and the whole Positron Emission Tomography (PET) group. I had also developed a close relationship with my mentor, Dr. Rich Ferrieri. I used to be shy about asking him questions but by the end of the program, I had progressively become my true self, being outgoing and enthusiastic.

On Monday and Tuesday, Abbie and I did three more carbon-11 studies. After that, we caught up some data. I spend any free time working on making cue cards for my poster presentation. Wednesday and Thursday were the days when students showed their posters to the whole Brookhaven National Laboratory community. The students, including me, summarized the project that we worked on and answered questions about our work. The poster presentation was not the only event that we had on those days. We also had a guest speaker, President Murphy from ESF, who came to Brookhaven National Laboratory to speak to all the students. I was happy to see him along with Dr. Lee Newman who is my adviser at ESF. Both of those days were excellent!

On Friday, it was time for our goodbyes. Dr. Ferrieri threw a pizza party for all the students in the PET group. The pizza was delicious!

Overall, I will never forget the project I worked on and the people I worked with. The morning meetings will always be remembered for bringing a smile to my face. The laughs and the silly conversations with my co-workers will never be forgotten. Even though this program took my whole summer, I am glad that it did. This Brookhaven National Lab Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship was not only time spent learning new science techniques; it was one of the greatest memories that I have for summer 2011 and beyond.

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Busy week leads to poster completion

Week 9 August 1 – August 5, 2011

This week was intense since it is the next-to last week of the SULI program. I wish the program was not going to be over because I love doing this project and I love the people I work with. This program went by so fast!

This week we finished the trial runs for the studies. We also worked to catch up on data processing since the graphs were needed for my poster. We all thought that the posters were due next week, but on August 4, an email was sent out that the posters were due that day. We were all shocked, frustrated, and stressed out. It turned out that the whole day on Friday we worked to finish the poster. It was a success! The graphs, results, and conclusion were done. We had pretty pictures and graphics. I am really proud of my poster. We even double checked the poster, well perhaps quadruple checked it, for any errors. By the end of Friday, the poster was submitted. I am hoping that the poster will print out great!

Root-chilling experiments post interesting results

Week 8 July 25 – July 29, 2011

This week we did the multiple trials at the time points to confirm the data. I also started working on my poster. All of  the SULI students get to make a poster at the end of the program with an overview of their project. I started writing my poster’s introduction and materials and methods this week and asked the graduate student I am working with, Abbie Ferrieri, to edit them for me. I updated some data analysis and it looks like the root-chilling experiments are producing the most interesting results so far!

Week 7 July 18 – July 22, 2011

This week was spent doing multiple repeats of the control and the initial experimental conditions with exposure of the plants to methyl jasmonate.

In the afternoons, we started a new set of experiments in which we were chilling the plant roots. We wanted to determine what changes were present in the chemical and physiological response of the plant to herbivory if the roots were cold. In this experiment, we placed the plant in a cool box filled with ice. The rest of the experiment was the same procedure as the other studies except that the plant roots were kept cold.

On Friday, the second version of our abstracts was due. These abstracts were sent to the departments like biology, chemistry, physics, medical, rather than to just the student advisor. In my case, my abstract was sent to the medical department, where the faculty selects a few abstracts so that the students can do not only a poster but also an oral presentation on their work. I hope I get selected!

Good week: Abstract earns praise and data collection makes sense

Week 6 July 11 – July 15, 2011

Monday was maintenance day for the radiation lab. We were not allowed to work in the lab during that time. Instead, we did data analysis again on Monday and Tuesday. On Monday afternoon, Dr. Ferrieri treated mentors and students who worked at the lab to lunch. We went to a Chinese restaurant near the laboratory. After lunch, I went to meet Michael Stegman, who guides all students on how to write abstracts and posters. He told me my abstract was great overall with a few minor errors. He thinks that my project is really interesting and wants to learn more about it when I make my poster at the end of the program. The poster is something that all students in the SULI program must do at the end of the program with an overview of their project.

The rest of the week was spent doing multiple repeats of the initial experimental conditions since the pulser was fixed. For the experimental conditions, the plants were again exposed to methyl jasmonate. We did this on Wednesday through Friday.

The C-11 fixation, exportation, aboveground and below ground accumulation, and incorporation into phenolics and sugars data all seem excellent. The collection of data makes sense now. It feels great to know that your data is proving that our hypothesis is accurate!

A quiet week and then: Success!

Week 5 July 6 – July 8, 2011

This week was a short week for us. We only had to work three days because of the big holiday, Fourth of July on Monday, with the lab closed on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, we were supposed to do a study, however the pulser that supplies carbon-11 to the plant was broken. It took the rest of the week to fix it so we focused on data analysis of prior experiments. From my perspective, I thought that collecting data and transporting them into Excel would be an easy and fast task, but a single three-hour trial collects about five Excel sheets of data.

I also wrote up my first draft abstract for the SULI program which was due Friday, July 8. I had Abbie check it over and then she passed it over to Dr. Ferrieri. They both told me that I did a great job on writing my first abstract as a freshman college student. There were a few errors which I corrected. It was a great learning experience for my next abstract assignment. Their compliments made me happy. Success!

A week of trials

Week 4: June 27 – July 1, 2011

Mostly this week was spent doing multiple trials of the control and the initial experimental conditions again. For the experimental conditions, the plants were exposed to methyl jasmonate. We did the control plants Monday and Tuesday and the experimental plants Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was catching up on data analysis.

The C-11 exportation and fixation results look really great! You can tell there is a significant change on the different time points in the controls and experimental conditions. Most of all, you can tell there is a significance between the controls and the experimental conditions. Furthermore, Dr. Ferrieri taught me how to calculate the above ground percentage of the plant from the images that I take during the study.