Biology student share experiences from internships in the Arctic
Biology student share experiences from internships in the Arctic

Still going strong in the lab

It’s time for a new update, although not much new has been going on in life as a lab technician intern. I still have a very varied everyday where every day is different! Some projects are getting close to an end now, for example the epic clean-up and reorganisation of the department’s storage rooms. Although it has been a long process, it feels good to have everything in order and hopefully have made the scientist’s lives a little easier!

Another project is soon getting back on track, namely the seawater nutrient analysis. The replacement part has been delivered and we are getting ready to start up our wonderful machine again. Hopefully the second try will be a little smoother and we will have learned from all the mistakes we made the first time. As this work is kind of just figuring things out as we go, with a lot of trying and failing for both my host Stuart and me, my learning curve has been steep. However, I think Stuart and I are working very well together as a team, and I enjoy the possibility to contribute with ideas and new ways of doing things. I’m looking forward to take my new learnings into practice once more and make another try, and I hope this time it will be successful and produce some interesting results. Once we have actually produced some data, we can put the information into a larger perspective and I can learn a little more about marine biology.

Dagny preparing the gel electrophoresis

I’ve also been able to do some work with my good friend and molecular biologist Dagny. She is working on her own research project in marine molecular biology and I am taking that as a good opportunity to learn some molecular methods. This week I have joined her in doing PCR and gel-electrophoresis, which are techniques that are used to first amplify DNA and then separate DNA fragments based on their size. The samples we are using for this have been made from the same filtrations of seawater that Dagny and I have been doing earlier.

I have also had a midterm appraisal talk with Stuart, where we discussed how the internship has been going so far. As it turns out, we are both very happy with our cooperation this far. We also discussed what the plan for the rest of the semester will be, and agreed that Stuart is going to teach me a little more about molecular biology as this is a field of biology that he knows a lot about and that I would like to (and need to) know more about. In addition, more nice reindeer fieldwork is awaiting, so there is still a lot to look forward to!

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