The lab spent a fun day sailing on Barak’s boat last week. The weather obliged with some great sunshine and good winds. The rejuvenated crew are now back in the lab to tackle smaller amounts of liquid.
Photo credit: James
When a few Cohen Lab members found themselves listlessly floating through the doldrums of graduate school, Barak came to the rescue. Quickly navigating rivers and creeks and roadside puddles, he sailed across Illinois and arrived in lab to the shock and awe of the other landlubber labs. His new crew gave a quick “yippee” and climbed aboard.
Might there be merits to guiding the ship into international waters where the rogue scientists could set up a nautical lab? Benefits would include easy access to fresh seafood, plenty of salt water for buffering our enzymatic reactions, and the inspiration of the fresh sea breeze. That said, we may need to invent new nautical approaches to sequencing DNA, discover internet-free ways of reading new papers, and identify some Atlantis-based funding source.
For now, we’ll keep residence within our lovely coffee-laden abode and escape to Carlyle Lake when the siren song becomes too much. But when the floods arrive again, look to the Cohen Lab for the beginnings of the NNIH: the National Nautical Institutes of Health.
Mary Poppins sang that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. This morning, we sang that a dozen John’s donuts helps the Washington University in St. Louis Institutional Biological & Chemical Safety Committee Protocol go down, and an additional spoonful of sugar helps that lengthy name go down.
Around the rooster’s crow, Barak, Max, Clarice, and Jeff gathered round a table piled high with past protocols, laptops, safety certificates, and a hearty collective knowledge ranging from the origins of reporter genes to the dangers of graphite in space. And then there were the donuts. Our lab has a storied tradition of sweetening unpleasant days with samplings of St. Louis’ fabulous donut scene. For RNA extractions, we grab a dozen from World’s Fair. For library preparation, we grab a dozen from Vincent Van Doughnut. For Clarice’s seven-hour-long marathon of a practice talk, we grab a dozen from Strange. And for the latest effort in maintaining a safe and accountable lab, we grab a dozen from John’s.
Perched next to our venerable coffee source, the four toiled as the sun progressed across the sky. Time’s passing was marked only by the regular flow of fellow scientists, coming to refill their receptacles with the dark brown life fuel that surely represents far too high of a proportion within our electrolyte-deficient bloodstream. Some offered sympathies, while others jealously eyed the donuts. The latter group hoped to only experience the sweet without the accompanying sour.
As the crescent moon rose on the horizon, the protocol neared complete. The four, splitting the final donut into quarters, each raised a piece in cheers to renewed safety and accountability. And quickly retired from lab to find some vegetables.
In an effort to find something sweeter than the satisfaction of sequencing DNA, the lab trekked downtown to visit St. Louis’ own Bissinger’s Chocolate Factory. Led by a couple of chocolate fanatics, we sought to uncover the secrets behind this famous chocolate. But alas, our phones were confiscated and the chocolate-factory-dungeon was threatened if we strayed from the walkway and became too pesky of visitors.
On our tour, we learned of the hand-crafted nature of Bissinger’s chocolate. A few lab members couldn’t help but be reminded of how we too take care to make sure that every library we design receives high quality and individualized attention. After the tour, we were treated to a tasting. Barak liked the chocolate-covered cherries. Siqi preferred the milk chocolate over the dark chocolate. Clarice quipped that her mint chocolate tasted like toothpaste.
All in all, we had a wonderful time. Was it sweeter than that feeling of opening up your sequencing results to find a beautiful array of A’s, C’s, T’s and G’s? Maybe not, but alas the factory was neat and the chocolate was tasty.
Led by team captains Brett Maricque (5th year CSB) and Kevin Forsberg (5th year MGG) the lethal mutants won the WUSM intramural softball league with a resounding win in the championship game yesterday. Well done computational biologists and molecular geneticists.