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Blog post by Simran Bhatt

In all honesty I joined this class without even knowing what this first year seminar was about. On the first day of class, after google mapping and asking people, I finally made it to the academic surge building and then to the lab room. From what I heard most first year seminars are in a lecture hall and you can get away with a nap. We had a pre-class quiz/survey and to this day I do not know badly I failed but I was excited by how much this class would help broaden my knowledge on genetic sequencing and research in general. Third year students I met in open labs told me how they would have jumped at this opportunity as a first year if they could go back and do it again. I was glad to have gained this experience in my first quarter at Davis.

In high school, I had performed experiments employed in this workflow such as gel electrophoresis but I never truly understood why you might do each step. However, I believe my research experience has instilled me values such as teamwork and time management skills that I have applied to this class. I have presented a paper on the reparation of Atrial Septic Defect by MSC derived exosomes via micro-robotic transfer and implantation at an internship at Stanford. Learning how to use scientific journals effectively and to write an abstract, aided me in this class when constructing the quantification and dilution protocol. I have also carried out my own study that focused on the psychological study of postoperative patients of cosmetic surgery.  Preparing a psychological study taught me to manage large sets of excel data and construct graphs to illustrate research findings. I applied the skills developed from my psychological study to navigating through the lap report sheets and to setting up the calculation sheet on excel for our dilution protocol.

During my time in this class I learned to appreciate the unpredictability of science. At every step they are so many questions and the process of finding an answer is likely to lead to another question. During our second time setting up gel electrophoresis, we came across a challenge- we had pipetted samples in to both the rows of wells. However, because of the positioning, one of the rows would run off the gel. To overcome this, we attempted to insert the well comb again in to the gel, to form new wells but alas, it cut through the gel. And to overcome that, we split the gel, aligned it side by side and hoped it would work. This was not a complicated scientific problem but collaborating as a group emulated the importance of patience, teamwork, and communication in scientific research.

To my fellow peers, I would not recommend choosing your classes randomly but in this circumstance my ignorance lead to me gaining valuable research experience.

David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

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