Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The last day in lab.

I synchronized my parasites, and handed them over to my collaborator.  A most excellent day.


Mary Kay Bosshart said...

I'm not even going to pretend to know what it means to synchronize your parasites but I'm happy for you that it was a good day! :)

Bridget said...

Oh goodness, you don't have to pretend, I can tell you what it means! :)

Synchronization has to do with the age of parasites. If you have a synchronized population, it means they're all the same age. In this instance, passing off cultures to someone else that will be doing something with them, well, it's the nice thing to do to tell them that they're a synchronized population.

So: the parasites have a 48 hour growth cycle, but that's just a guideline. Some take 46, some take 50, and after a week or two weeks in culture, instead of having a population that's all the same age, they're all different ages. And since having a population that is the same age is important for experiments, scientists figured out a way to ensure cultures were at the same age. We make a sugar solution that causes the older parasites to burst open and die, but leaves the young ones alive. But since young parasites can be anywhere from zero to 12 hours old, if you really need tightly synchronized parasites, you repeat it again 4-10 hours later. Obviously, your parasite numbers also take a big hit when you synchronize. But, it's important to have them be the same age, so it's a necessary loss.