An important task in the upkeep of mice is scanning them for tumors. To do so, a machine in the lab called IVIS scans the mice for tumors that fluoresce when the mice are injected with a fluorescent dye. This technique allows one to determine if a mouse has responded to the proteins that were injected to generate a tumor mimicking human glioma. A mouse with tumor development will be a good candidate to perform a perfusion on to remove the brain and conduct further research on the cancer growth.
Additionally, in the lab, I performed a maxiprep to obtain a substantial amount of in vitro plasmids from transformed bacteria. This multistep process uses multiple chemicals to degrade proteins in the bacteria while keeping the plasmids intact, so once the solution is filtered, one can obtain the replicated plasmids. Once the DNA sequences of the plasmids have been confirmed to be the desired plasmids, they will be inserted into mice pups through a neonatal injection to generate a tumor as the mice grow to adulthood. Another method to insert plasmids into mice is by surgically inserting tumor cells into grown mice. The surgical method tends to be more successful; however, it is more work intensive when compared to simply injecting the plasmids.
A mess-up that occurred to me in the lab was from being too ambitious and impatient. When my mentor was supervising me as I performed a perfusion on a mouse, she wanted me to stop so that she could demonstrate a technique. I thought that I understood the technique well enough to proceed with the profusion; this in turn led to me making too large of an incision on the right ventricle of the mouse’s heart to drain its blood, which caused the heart to asystole. As a result, the profusion was a failure since the blood could not be removed from the mouse and replaced with peraformaldehyde to fix the tissue. This annoyed my mentor because she planned on using the mouse’s brain for further research on its tumor, and had I stopped to allow her to assist, the perfusion would have been successful. I remedied this mistake by apologizing and assisting with additional procedures to make up for my error, and I promised to stop and listen in the future.