Run the Experiments (2)
(April 10th, 2017) Here's Lab Times' new serialised crime story. Episode 2: Eureka!
Still yawning, Charlotte got up and made herself a cup of coffee. The industrial-strength brew could wake the dead. Just what she needed to get into gear in the mornings. Later, she would have one of those horrible meetings with Prof. Bernard. They would talk about her results, he would slag her off, screaming about why she hadn't produced more data; she would return to the bench, deeply discouraged and depressed, ready to quit.
This time, however, it was different. On her way to the lab, Charlotte caught herself cheerfully whistling a children's song. Her colleagues turned their heads in disbelief: A happy person in Bernard's lab? As impossible as a protein, making DNA. But, there she was, whistling all the way to the cell culture room. There, in absolute solitude, she would begin another set of experiments that would hopefully confirm her initial findings.
First on Charlotte's agenda: changing her precious cells' media. Under the microscope, the cells looked good in the control plate. Now, she had to check the treated cells. Would they all have stopped proliferating and died, just as Charlotte's hypothesis predicted? Or would they be alive and kicking, ruining her good mood and causing the whistling to die on her lips. If this experiment failed, she said to herself, she would finally give up and admit defeat. Nervously, she placed the cell culture plate on the sample stage and drew a deep breath before she looked down the ocular. Then, a sigh of relief, yes almost all cancer cells had died.
Charlotte settled back into her chair, relaxed. She thought about the next steps to substantiate her hypothesis, when the door to the cell culture room opened and Marcus, one of her colleagues, came in, "Hey, hey, any new results?" Marcus, also a postdoc, was one of her favourite lab members and they would often spend the lunch break together.
"What do you see?" Charlotte said, pointing Marcus to the microscope.
"Not much life in here," he replied. "Mycoplasm contamination again? Oh, crap!"
"No, no! That's one of my experiments. And it worked!!!" Charlotte proudly proclaimed.
"Phew, for a moment there, I thought we would have to put the entire culture room under quarantine again. Last time, it took four weeks before we could start our experiments again. You gave me a nasty shock, Charlotte. Anyway, tell me about your experiment."
To be continued next Monday...
Kathleen Gransalke & Alison Blewitt
Read episode 1 here.
Photo: Pixabay/Andy Beales