Three AM | #2

Today has been a very long day. I am having a great summer as a research assistant. I feel very motivated and accomplished in what I am doing. My PI continually assures that I have ample experiments to complete. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to work for someone who propels me forward. I am discovering new things about my work ethic, determination, patience, and understanding of the “impossible”. This week I am exploring the role the cell cycle plays in my work. The cell cycle is a hallmark of biology – shockingly!  Here is the rundown for my non-science audience. In order to reproduce cells divide. This is a process called mitosis in our autosomes (body cells) and meiosis and our gametes (sex cells). Essentially one cell because of 2 (for mitosis, or 4 for meiosis). The stages of the cell cycle are:

G1/G0 – a growth phase. Newly divided cells can make some proteins and build up some energy in this phase. This can be in preparation to divide again or to live on an fulfill its duties as a single cell (About 8 hours)

S Phase: Once a cell enter S phase is it making the first step towards division. In S phase the cell copies its DNA. At the end of S phase, one cell will have two identical sets of DNA. One to keep and one to pass on when its time to divide (About 5-6 hours)

G2: During G2 phase cells make the second round into a “modification stage” (similar to G1, but these modifications are to ensure proper cell division as opposed to proper day to day cell living). This is an opportunity for cells to repair damage, grow out their cytoplasm, ensure that it is large enough to divide (About 3-4 hours)

Mitosis: Cell Divides! (About 2 Hours)

Most cells spend a majority of their lives in G1 phase. The cell cycle is approximated to last about 24h in most cells. So if you are not careful, you could really miss the whole thing (aka *no days off!). Studying the cell cycle has been my worst enemy and my best friend.

So I tracked the cell cycle. I collected samples 0.5, 6, 16, and 24h after treatment. After a lot of thought, I realized the best time to start this is at 5pm. This way, I will be in the lab at 5:30pm, 11pm, 9am, and 5pm. These times are not crazy. No matter how you slice and dice it the 6h and 16h are going always tight and difficult to plan.

One of my most memorable things about undergrad will definitely be the 5 Million jobs I worked (Alright maybe not 5 Million). The best jobs on campus are the ones that allow you to get your homework done. So in the mist of this internship, I decided to pick up another job. This job does not allow me to get my 5pm sweet spot, but it did allow me to get an 8:30 sweet-ish spot. This morning I was in the lab from 230-3am. In these quiet moments, I began to think about how the lab has really become my sanctuary over the last year.


Happy regulated cell divisions.

One thought on “Three AM | #2

  • July 31, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Hi, Uche! I’m Zane Harding and I am an intern with the LSA Opportunity Hub. I’ll be following your blog posts throughout the summer.

    I am very glad that you are reducing self-doubt and are reminding yourself to be resilient and to continue asking questions as you continue to work in the Wahl lab. It sounds like you have an incredible work ethic and I hope that you continue to keep a positive mental attitude moving forward.

    Thank you for the non-science-major breakdown of the cell cycle so I could follow what the experiment you were doing was all about. It is wild to hear that you had to make sure you were at the lab precisely at 5:30 PM, 11 PM, 9 AM, and 5 PM. Most of those hours fit within a 9:30-5 workday, but not the 11 PM! Good for you for going above and beyond to ensure your work is a success.

    I’d be curious to hear about how you are achieving balance in your life between your time in the lab and picking up another job. You mentioned that the lab has become your “sanctuary” this past year. I’d love to hear more about that!


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