Although this is not actually week 5 of being in the lab, it is the 5th week of work we have gotten to do. Last week we were unfortunately unable to run any tests due to conflict in timing with the replacement of an air filter in the lab. Although we did not do any testing we did pick worms to put in a new petri dish to grow for the next week.
The first thing that I got to do this week was head into the lab with Tewa and see the finalized version of our test setup. I spent the day taking measurements and drawing a diagram as seen below. This was in the middle of the week and the worms were not mature enough for accurate testing, so the day ended with the measurements and some quick looks at test runs performed by Tewa and Brian the previous week.
The next day was spent in the OLB with Brian and Lily looking for possible UV lasers for testing. After we are done with testing the reactions of the C. Elegans with the blue laser we plan to take it to the next step by replacing it with an ultraviolet laser. It took a lot of looking, but we found a few sites that were selling mounted UV lasers. One sight in particular did not sell mounted lasers, but sold extremely powerful handheld lasers. Although these are dangerous and don’t seem safe for the general populace, the site claims that all of its products are legal under U.S. law.
The final day in the lab we got to run actual tests. The day started out by picking out worms to grow for next week, but the next step was taking them into our actual lab to record some tests. Brian Tewa and I took turns recording each CCD camera and dropping the worms into the cuvette. This new setup is interesting because we no longer have to turn off the lights in the lab to get accurate readings; however, goggles are still needed for safety from the blue laser. The tests seemed to run quite smoothly, and some of the worms seemed as if they were actually fighting against gravity to stay out of the blue light which is what we are looking for. After dropping about 20 worms, the next step was to use chloroform to kill the remaining worms in the petri dish to see if there is a distinct difference between dead and live worms in the cuvette. We walked to a different building to use a fume hood to safely use the chloroform and it took about 10 minutes of waiting to make sure the worms were actually dead. At this point I had to leave the lab, but Tewa and Brian remained to do some more testing.
Next week I will be putting together a table with Brian and Lily regarding the possible UV lasers for Professor Magnes to look at and determine which laser to purchase. I also anticipate more testing with our setup or possibly analyzing the data that we took this week.