Last Monday and Tuesday was arguably the most strenuous and mentally taxing period of time I have spent in lab. On Monday I had to prepare 2 time course experiments. The gist of the experiments involved preparing 2 different cancer cell cultures, in 4 well-plates each. As a result, I had to prepare 3 different drugs at 5 different concentrations, administer the drugs, and image 8 plates over a 12 hour window at different intervals. The imaging itself was the most troublesome part of the experiment. Because I needed to take images of the cells 1, 3, 6, and 12 hours post-inoculation, I had to spend virtually the entire day in and out of lab. Unfortunately, preparing 8 plates takes a significant amount of time, and I was unable to add the drugs until 2 PM. Doing some quick math, I realized I was going to have to be in lab at 5 PM, 8 PM, and 2 AM. At that point, I made an executive decision and chose to alter my experimental procedure. I took the final images at 7 AM and got my 8 hours of sleep. Thankfully, despite the stressful time constraints and the hours spent monitoring my cancer cultures, my data turned out very nicely. My research mentor was impressed and acknowledged my hard work, which ultimately made the experience worth while (in addition to the solid data).
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