Dexterity is definitely an important requirement when it comes to lab work.
That being said, if you find your hands are shaking while pipetting, or everything is a bit fumbly… trust me, you’ll get better. Some people (including myself *humble brag*) had a natural knack for it, but even if you don’t, it’s like with anything that involves physical prowess… you just have to work at it until you get better.
Think about it. You’re literally using muscles in your hands that normally don’t get used to this extent. They’re gonna need a bit of a workout before the movements become more natural, and the muscles strengthen enough that they can hold steady.
Just as a little bonus, the photos from top to bottom show a 1.5 mL microcentrifuge tube (or “Eppy”, as we affectionately call them), with a glass insert used for gas chromatography coupled mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
If you look carefully at the second photo with just the insert, you might spot some opaque residue at the bottom of it. Those are what we call “metabolites”, or the nutrients, in this case harvested from a bacterial cell. I’m interested in things like sugars, amino acids, and other compounds involved in making energy within a bacterial cell. They need to eat, too- much like we do.
You can put that glass insert into a glass vial (third photo), which can then be run on the mass spec. Unfortunately this particular set of samples didn’t have enough metabolites for me to have a look at, so I’ll be doing this again soon with more bacterial cells. I literally grow them up to kill them and extract their nutrients. Somewhat barbaric, but ’tis life. #Science #PhDLife
Categories: Ph D posts
A Ph. D graduate in Microbiology, residing in Victoria, Australia. Currently working in multiple locations but still in the STEM field. 👀 🦠 🧫 🧬