As anyone following these posts may know, I’ve had plenty of difficulty gathering the RNA that I need to finish the “wet lab” portion of my research project. To highlight in the most succinct way possible, I am collecting RNA from Mycobacterium bovis-BCG (BCG) that I have exposed to the human-derived antioxidant, Glutathione (GSH), so as to understand how Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) responds and ultimately survives what should be a fatal reductive stress encountered within the granulomas in lungs of patients suffering from this pervasive disease. BCG is used for my studies because it shares nearly 100% of its DNA with Mtb, and because BCG is considered a BSL-2 organism (which is allowable in the type of labs present within Pace University).
In my last post, I highlighted the difficulties of conducting Undergraduate Research while carrying the burden of a full-time course load and a part-time job with extracurricular responsibilities to tend to as well. I also mentioned that obtaining the pure, high yield RNA required for my analysis is the most difficult, and often discouraging part of my project. But, I also said, “as a scientist and driven individual, the only solution is to push forward,” and I’m surely glad that I did. Because…
I FINALLY HAVE MY RNA!
This means my wet lab work is essentially finished. I only have my transcriptional analysis to work through, which will be a demon in and of itself. But, I know that if I was able to persevere through the mental anguish of obtaining RNA from Mycobacteria (a notoriously difficult achievement), then the analysis can be done as well.
I have learned what my niche is in the spectrum of biology-related careers.
Knowing that I can work through a problem and come out as the “winner” when the odds are stacked against me is the key lesson I have learned in working through this project. By thinking critically, troubleshooting my failures, and feeling what victory in this field feels like, I have found again my desire to continue on with projects of the like and get my PhD in this field so that my passion can someday help those who are, or those who know someone who is, impacted by pathogens evasive to the treatments available to the public.