My first week at the William Harvey Hospital began with introductions to the staff who will be helping me out over the next 8 weeks as well as a tour of the labs and also a start at getting to grips the general running of the place.
Once I was settled and stopped getting hopelessly lost every two seconds, my time was mostly taken up with researching into current published papers referring to numerous aspects of 5-HIAA testing. This included papers about the handing during collection of urine, focusing on the effect of light, pH and temperature, as well as interferences with the levels of 5-HIAA due to drugs (alcohol and smoking) and diet.
Although all of these papers were important and related to the project, there is currently minimal research directly based around the long-term storage and this is what the project I’m working on is all about. Thus the data I will help to gather can ultimately be put towards published research in this area.
Regarding hands on work in the labs, I started preparing the aliquots for the samples, and also spend a great deal of time shadowing staff who were working in the areas of the lab appropriate to my project, including areas associated with processing of 24 hour urine samples and the HPLC equipment.
All in all my first week, though a lot to take in, was highly enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to starting the actual project next week!