My Work Study Is Cooler Than Yours

Really, it’s true. Both figuratively and literally. So cool that included in my safety training were ways to avoid getting frostbite.

I’m working in a lab in the Crop Science building, transferring corn shoot and root samples into a well plate for testing. They’ve been subjected to specific mould varieties to test drought tolerances and growth limits. The only thing is – the mould is active and continues to affect the sample when about -80°C. It has to stay extremely cold, so the samples are kept in a freezer big enough for two of me to climb into. I get to throw all the samples into a huge bucket of liquid nitrogen, which is really more fun than it sounds (I feel like Bill Nye!) I also get to make (yes, make!) dry ice to put the well plates on so that the samples stay frozen even after transferring them. The picture below is of my work station in the lab.

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Manish Raizada is the professor that hired me, which is great! He also happens to be the Honorary President for the OAC ’17 Stags (Fear the Deer!) so it’s nice to be on a first-name basis with him. He even took all of the lab students out for lunch today! I’m working for one of his grad students that needs an extra hand doing lab work. In the new year, I’ll be doing some different tasks other than plant sample transfers. It’s great having this job on-campus. It’s an inside look at what lab research is really like.

Keep Calm and Farm On,

Emma — The Suburban Aggie

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