As the other new grunt of the VAOL, this first week was spent learning the ropes around the lab. I started out my week watching a laser safety video so I would be allowed to go into the actual lab where the lasers are kept and where all of the testing will take place.
Brian also showed me the worms (C. elegans) that we will be growing and did his best to explain the process of moving the worms onto a new petri dish with a fresh supply of food so that they can lay eggs and make more worms to work with. It takes 4-5 days for the worms to mature into adults, which is when testing occurs and the optimum time to move them onto a new dish.
Another good part of the week was spent assisting our professor with some tasks she needed to get done, including testing multiple pieces of data recording equipment. Spending time to make sure everything is getting done in the physics building is a necessary part of the research assistant position I am in.
Next week Brian and Tewa will teach me how to move worms into new dishes without hurting the worms or the gel that they are placed on. I am looking forward to it!