My favorite response to the question “how is your day going?” has always been “it’s just another day in paradise.” I began using the expression during my previous career working in a pharmacy. But it was always sarcastically, as most of those days working were spent in chaos, and with the feeling of being overworked and dissatisfied with my job. But after leaving that career behind, and beginning a new one in research, that expression has become sincere. For the first time in years, I find myself not only taking pride, but enjoying what I do in my job. Each day may bring more challenges, but I find myself more than willing to address them and tackle them. And although my scientific career is still young, and there still seem to be many more challenges than successes, I am excited to continue, and to hopefully tip the balance the other way.
This summer, I have continued working with Dr. Rose at Idaho State University, studying mink reproductive biology. I spend my days split between studying journal articles, writing, and experimenting. The experiments I’ve done so far have been on an immortalized mink uterine epithelial cell line. Each experiment takes roughly a week to complete- it begins with transferring live cells into well plates, giving the cells time to grow and then treating with hormones. After a few days, the treated cells are collected, and can then be subjected to a number of techniques- ranging from assays for glycogen content to qPCR to western blotting.
So far, I have been trying to understand the effect that the hormone prolactin has on glycogen metabolism and insulin sensitivity in mink uterine tissue. The other major component of my work is studying and reviewing journal articles and text books to understand as much as I can about mink reproductive biology. Because mink are not a heavily studied species, it can be difficult to find direct evidence for any future projects. Instead, I study articles about other species, and hold it to my understanding of mink biology, to see what is and isn’t reasonable to try in my lab. Even then, species differences do exist, adding to the uncertainty when starting a project. Finally, I always try to do some writing about my experiments and articles, to help solidify everything I have learned. Even though I still have a lot to learn, I try to take it one step at a time, and to learn as much as I can every day.