The start of this program has really lit a fire under both myself and the lab. I have been involved with the research in Dr. Sheridan’s lab off and on since January 2017, but with everyone working on school at the same time, it really proceeded at a snail’s pace. As summer has come around however, the projects have taken off like drag racers.
The Sheridan lab is the perfect conglomeration of microbiology and molecular biology. One second you are gathering sample from an Antarctic pond hoping for bacteriophage, the next you are running PCR for applications downstream (pictured). The best part about all of these projects is that they arose simply from the curiosity of Dr. Sheridan. He took what he knew, ran into a question, and simply explored it with the tools and resources available to him. I have come to greatly appreciate the uniqueness of each project going on.
The best part about working in a basement lab with no windows while the sun shines outside is those other researchers around me, including Dr. Sheridan. He has created an environment where if you have an idea about how to advance or improve your project, you feel open to tabling the idea and trying it. On top of that, every other researcher in the lab in interested in the others’ projects. They love to listen to the details, and lend a hand when you need it. When it comes to their projects, they are happy to explain them, and are open to shadowing and assistance as well.
For these first few weeks, I have spent much time learning valuable techniques of another fellow’s project, as well as advancing my own. I am working on testing an idea regarding the efficient enrichment of prokaryotic transcriptomes. This particular “ome” can give us a window into the details interaction between us and our microbiome. However, current methods of doing this tend to skew data when they work well. As this research moves forward, we hope to offer a new method to the field that provides an easier, more accurate way of achieving results.