Sunday, May 22, 2005

double hohum

not much to report here. i ran the flow cytometer friday all by my little self - no supervision - and actually got good results. i figured - given my less than perfect lab technique coupled with my inexperience - that i would screw it up. (that's why i was practicing on chicken blood). but i did well. i'm pleased. now, i'm supposed to actually start doing research, but i don't have any parrot blood to start with - so i'm just waiting for something to happen. i may not have to work tomorrow, because really - i have nothing to do.

we went out to dinner last night at a place called t-ho. it was a vietnamese restaurant (south viet). it was really good food. i was surprised - because i'm so picky, but i really liked it. for an appetizer, we had 'grilled meatballs' - which turned out to be thinly sliced pork strips with cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, ginger, and peanuts wrapped in a paper thin rice thingy. really really delicious. for dinner, i had a chicken bowl with thin noodles. again, really good. i'm happy that i tried something new - given what a picky eater i am. and found a new ethnic food to enjoy. before dinner, alison and i shopped all day. i spent too much money, but it was fun.

i'm not reading anything right now. i don't feel any books speaking to me, which is generally a pre-req before i'll pick up a book. so i'm waiting. sooner or later, i'll feel one that wants to be read...

summer is a really boring time to hear from me.

so, i'm going to try and attempt to explain my research briefly.

ok...we want to be able to evaluate how a parrot's immune system is functioning. to do this, you need to be able to look at the different amounts of cells in the immune system. for those of you who don't know, your immune system has many cells, including B cells and T cells - which deal with either problems coming from outside your body (B cells) or problems within your cells (T cells), to see how your immune system works - we need to be able to count those types of cells. the way to do that is to use a flow cytometer. the cytometer uses a beam of light to count individual cells as they pass through the light in a liquid medium. all cells have a natural ability to fluoresce. but with the flow cytometer, we want to "pump up" that ability so that the flow cytometer can see them really well and also to mark the individual cells. so, we attach something to the cells (B, T, and a variety of others) that is SPECIFIC for that cell type and that cell type only. this attachment helps the cell fluoresce more. what the attachment is - an antibody essentially - is really complicated, so i'll skip that part. so - the attachments are EXTREMELY costly and difficult to make - takes years to develop them. as a result - we want to see if we can use the pre-existing attachments - made for chickens - in parrots and get the same results. that way we can start evaluating how a parrot's immune system is working (indicative of disease) without spending years and years and millions of dollars developing parrot-specific attachments (really - a parrot specific antibody).

see, wasn't that easy? you guys better'd read this...i'm excited about it

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