Blog Post 3: Wrapping Up

This post is coming to you a little later than expected, but hopefully I can get you caught up on my last days in lab this summer. I spent a lot of time on excel, analyzing the data collected from the video analysis. If you remember from my last post, I took lots of videos of moving sperm from swm-1 and spe-6(hc187) mutants in order to compare how SPE-6 affected the motility of sperm that had activated precociously. While it meant a lot of time on the computer, I still really enjoyed it because it meant that I got to see an experiment through from beginning to end (with help from several lab members). I spent most of my spring semester and portions of my time this summer getting trained, so it was exciting to finally feel like I had completed an experiment fully.

My last task before leaving the lab for the summer was to get briefed on how to work on the spe-6 project in the fall. Before working in lab I don’t think I realized how many components go into doing research. It is not just a matter of learning one or two techniques. It means knowing where everything is – the antibodies, the antibody buffer and the myriad of other solutions and chemicals necessary to perform experiments. It means knowing how to do chores – pouring and seeding plates, washing dishes, cleaning up lab benches, autoclaving the trash. I think research in a lab is often portrayed as something very individual, or at the very least limited to the project you are working on. The truth is, though, that in a lab with eight or nine other people, even if they are each working on a different project, there is still a huge sense of community and a need for everyone to chip in order to keep the lab running smoothly.

Working in a lab was something that I was really excited to try in college, and I am so glad that I got the opportunity to do so. I enjoy the science and getting to focus on a very specific topic. It was also a lot of fun to work with a lot of people who are incredibly knowledgeable and so willing to pass on their expertise. Another benefit of being in lab this summer was that I got a chance to plan experiments for the fall and I am excited to hit the ground running when school starts. I plan to begin investigating the sub-cellular pattern of SPE-6 localization during earlier stages of meiosis – before and during the meiotic divisions. This summer, the lab has focused on the function of SPE-6 during sperm activation, but I am eager to investigate the role it might be playing at the very beginning of spermatogenesis, so hopefully I will be able to help figure that out!


  1. Hi Elena!

    Your research seems like it was very rewarding. It is awesome that you had the opportunity to do this work over the summer and to become more prepared for work in the fall. Knowing how to do the various chores of pouring and seeding plates, washing dishes, cleaning up lab benches, and autoclaving the trash as well as knowing where all of the solutions and antibodies go will be extremely helpful for you to get a jump start on your research in the fall. Since I am not a science person, I do not fully understand the work you are doing, but it sounds very important, and it sounds like you are enjoying and interested in what you are doing. I hope you get to investigate the role SPE-6 at the beginning of spermatogenesis. I say, if you want to do something, you should go for it.