Data Troubles! | Blog Post #2

Over the course of the internship we’ve performed many experiments. Such as minimum inhibitory concentration tests, which helps us find the lowest concentration of a chemical that prevents visible growth of a bacteria. Or minimum bactericidal concentration tests, which help us obtain knowledge upon the lowest concentration of an antibacterial agent required to kill the bacteria. The difference between the two tests being the lowest concentration of a chemical that prevents visible growth of bacteria, and the lowest concentration of a chemical that will kill the bacteria. We’ve performed many different kinds of experiments but these two are crucial because they give us the best clues to guide us toward answering our research question.

My mentor once told me, “..of all the research experiments you will do the majority of them will be a disappointment, you’ll be confused with the data you have received and a lot of the time you’ll have to repeat it just to assure yourself that what you’re seeing is actually true.” His words could not have been more accurate. Although the tests we have been conducting work well in microbiology research, we have been encountering some issues in receiving data that can help us address our questions. For example, sometimes absolutely no bacteria will grow on the agar plates what so ever, forcing us to repeat the experiment with some minor adjustments. Or we’ll get data but it won’t correlate with previous experiments and doesn’t seem valid, again making us repeat the test.

Some agar plates with confusing bacterial growth on them.

Not obtaining the data you’re seeking and having to repeat experiments constantly becomes tiring and annoying. Putting in all of the work, hours and thought into these experiments only for them to not pay off is a drag, but when they do pay off and you make a finding that allows you to get one step closer to your goal makes the research all the more exciting. I’ve been able to overcome this drought of data by staying optimistic, because in the big picture we will find answers to our question, and this entire learning experience is very fun and intriguing. I can’t wait to see what the rest of this internship holds for me, and I’m more ready than ever to continually immerse myself into the fascinating world of microbiology, biochemistry and research. But hopefully, we’ll soon finally get some supportive data!

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