Monday, October 18, 2004


so i dutifully went into lab sunday morning to change my cell's media. sadly, i was greeted with the news that of the lab's cells were infected with some nasty contaminant. apparently, a bunch of us had been sharing purified virus from a single tube (it was a scrambled virus used as a control) and it turned out to be not so pure anymore. under the microscope, the cells looked like they were underneath a fuzzy white blanket. i had to throw them all out.

such is life.

i don't mind having to repeat the experiments; shit (and fungus) happens, you know? i just hope that people aren't thinking that i, the newest member of the lab, have been reckless or careless, sneezing into various vials and drooling inside the hood. i promise, i haven't. in fact, i'm quite careful while i'm doing cell culture, because i'm still new at it. i work slowly compared to other people and i disinfect with a lot of alcohol. i'm not saying i couldn't have contaminated the tube of virus, but i personally think that there's just as much chance that it was someone else. anyway.

i can't believe i only have 2 weeks left of my rotation! there are some experiments i really want to finish up before i leave, because it would be nice to have some actual data and a sense of completeness in return for my 2 months here. i feel like i've learned a lot, but i have a long, long way to go.


  1. Anonymous11:44 AM

    during my second lab rotation in my first year of grad school, a couple of people in the lab accused me of not cleaning up a radioactive spill. turned out i wasn't even working in the lab the day it happened, but they just assumed it was the rotation student and started yelling accordingly. (looking back on it now, seems to me they should have been supervising me more carefully if they weren't convinced i knew how to monitor and clean up radioactivity properly...) anyway, needless to say, i joined a different lab.

  2. Contamination happens. I think it was my second week in lab this summer that I killed one of my cell lines. Thankfully, my post-doc said, "Don't worry; we've all contaminated dozens of cells before, it's so not a big deal!" And I haven't contaminated another one since, even though I'm way less careful now than I was back then. Funny how those things happen - there's such a learning curve in cell culture!