First Failure

Research is a discipline in which failure happens frequently. In the field of immunology and many others, failure can happen at any given moment. Once a failure occurs as a researcher you must step back and think about the process of the experiment. Where could it have gone wrong? Did I use too much of drug X? And many other variables that could contribute to the failure of an experiment. Today I had my first failed experiment and though it was a minor experiment it was still and the opportunity to work retroactively and think critically as to what and why the experiment had gone wrong.

The experiment was no different than what I’ve been doing the entire summer. Working on differentiating naïve CD4 T cells to Tfh Cells. My goal for this experiment was to first isolate naïve CD4+ T cells via magnetic column separation. However, when I took my cell sample to the hemocytometer to do a cell count, there was nothing. I had had my first failure in an experiment. Something had gone wrong and I wasn’t quite sure as to what the problem was.

Thinking backward, it was difficult to pinpoint the problem that caused this failure. Could something have gone wrong with the magnetic labeling? Could the cell population be extremely low? It was tough to tell. In the end, I had conducted the same experiment again and it was a success.

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