Tag Archives: graduate school

big right turn: analysis of mitochondria

I’ve been running capillary electrophoresis for days looking for a particular chemical reaction. I never found it.In the interest of getting something useful before I leave, I’m switching away from the synaptic vesicle (SV), the subject of my work to date. I have a great deal of emotional attachment to the SV. It’s hard to let go.The SV is what I’ve worked for these last 5 years. The mitochondrion is great, but I know little about it.

To change gears at this stage is terrifying. I’ve never made such a huge turn with so little time to get the task done. We’ll see how it goes. I need to prepare mitochondria, label them, and see what’s inside today. It’s been done, I’m sure, but I should also get some standards and more reagent for the stuff we expect to see inside. It’s going to be exciting!

Here’s something amusing: this is what I first saw in my sample. You want to make sense of that? Because I did. It was Thrilling.

There are lots of different kinds of grad school experiences. There are ones where the goal is to make it work. Other grad students know before starting that it will work but they don’t know until after what it means. In my line of work, we’re contending with both.

If you are a prospective grad student looking for a research program, I offer this advice: figure out which one you like before you start. Then make sure the project you are working on is the one you prefer. Only attempt a project that requires both if you are insane.

-Peter