My second week of work at the hospital was mainly focused around the research project. The week began with what seemed like an endless amount of pipetting. Five urine samples (all from different patients) were selected and aliquots were made to be stored at a range of temperatures and pHs (in order to determine the most stable conditions).
Monday was the official ‘start’ of the project and was thus deemed Day 0; on this day the aptly named Day 0 aliquot batch was measured using HPLC. I used the skills I had been taught last week to ensure I efficiently (and correctly) did everything I was supposed to do in order to prepare the samples for the HPLC run.
As the week progressed, I continued running the designated Day (…) samples on the equipment, with set runs on individual days to maintain the predetermined schedule in order to ensure the samples are tested at increasingly spaced time intervals throughout the project duration i.e Day 0, Day 1, Day 3, Week 1, Week 2…
On Wednesday, there were no samples to run and this meant I was free to ‘help out’ in the main lab. Under the guidance of one of the staff members I learnt about the numerous (and confusing) processes involved with sample testing and got to experience first hand the busy environment of a lab.
When the test results from Monday and Tuesday were finally completed (HPLC takes quite a bit of time to process the truck load of samples), I analysed the data by a process called integration and it revealed some pretty weird results!
After trying to work out what on earth had gone on, and narrowing down the list of errors which could have occurred, it was decided that the samples should just be run again and pray for a better outcome… After waiting for what felt like forever, the re-run results finally came in and to everyone’s relief were fine, meaning the experiment could continue!
All in all, my second week was pretty interesting, with a good mix of project work and helping out in the labs, it has been both informative and great fun!