Bearded Seal Post Mortem Findings

Here are some pictures that describe postmortem findings from 2010 Subsistence Harvested  Bearded Seals.

Hearts from 3 of the 42 bearded seals examined had incomplete closure of the ductus arteriosus-one of the three had a probe patent ductus arteriosus.  2 of the 3 were seals estimated to be just over a year old.  The remaining seal was an adult.

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Special People in Barrow

Here is a photo of one of my favorite people in Barrow, Rosabelle Rexford.  Rosabelle is a very accomplished hunter, butcher and seamstress.  At the young age of 69, she is very efficient at skinning and butchering seals.  She has always been so kind to me and most supportive of my work.

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Ice Ice, baby Ice

Or however that song went. Howdy doody everyone? Hope everyone’s weekend was nice and safe! Sorry about the lack of post on Thursday, I was without internet so that made it kind of difficult to post -just sayin.

Anyways, Alan and I have been trying to get DCP2 and DCPS before my last day and we just sent in DCPS for sequencing! DCP2 has been giving us some trouble and we haven’t been able to get a successful PCR off that one, though we have only used the new oligos we had ordered once. It would be uber sweet if we could get DCPS, since we were able to get a good protein gel on DCP1 back in June. But as the days start to wind down I think we will just try to get DCPS “even if it kills us” according to Alan.

Since my last day has been approaching I’ve been trying to work on some papers to turn into ASM to let them know how my “research experience” went and what I thought about it all. I also have to make an abstract to submit to the Spring 2011 ASM meeting and I hope it gets accepted because the meeting is in Louisiana! That would be cool beans!

Today was a rather fun day! The freezer needed defrosting so we got to clear it out and chisel out all of the ice! I knocked off one piece that was the size of my head! I was like WHOA! It was pretty epic- and cold- and wet.

Ahem, well my last post will be this Thursday! So until next time

Becca T

The final countdown…

I am sad to report that my ten-week fellowship is coming to an end. With the end of the summer fellowship comes an end to my blogging experience. My project will continue during the fall semester; however, I will be a little less flexible with my time to report on account of homework and the like.

As of late in lab, I can pretty safely say that one point mutation is not the cause of temperature sensitivity in therep gene in B. thailandensis. The best guess at this point is Ts can be attributed to a combination of mutations or quite possibly all five in the specific orientation are needed for the necessary tertiary structure of the Rep protein.

As far as the next step in my project: I have created and ordered new primers to change the fully mutated temperature sensitive plasmid back to the wild type rep sequence one point mutation at a time. This process is the reverse from the original method I employed. Stratagene’s QuikChange Multi Site-Directed Mutagenesis Kit will be used to convert one amino acid per PCR reaction from mutated to the wild type. (If you can recall: there are five different amino acid changes in the rep gene that were said to cause Ts in Burkholderia thailandensis)From this point on the entire process follows the same protocol as I have been doing the last ten weeks. Continue reading

Body World

Aloha everyone! No, I’m not in Hawaii; I just wanted to start with something new. It turns out that the re PCR of DCPS seems to have worked so we started the ligation process yesterday.

Today Alan and I did not go into the lab, but instead went to go to the Body World exhibit. The exhibit was so cool! And I was less creeped out then I thought I would be (double bonus)! It was all put together so artistically and you get so engrossed in it that you almost forget that all the displays were real people. It was interesting to learn and see all these things about the heart and body and even think, hey I learned that in biology! (Yes, I am that nerdy). I think the creepiest/coolest part there was the baby fetus exhibit. You could see what a fetus looks like at different stages of a pregnancy, and I was born almost two months early, so it was neat to see how small I was. Going from that small to over six feet tall must have knocked my parents off there cahoots! But Body World was truly amazing and I would like to thank Alan and his dad for letting me tag along!

Other than that, things have been relatively slow. My last day of the fellowship is next Friday, so next Thursday will be my last post. And I have no internet where I am staying at the moment, so I will try my very best to post this Thursday. Until next time, Aloha!

Becca T

My Barrow Necropsy Assistants

Here I am at the home of Joe and Mary Sage preparing to take measurements and assist with butchering two ringed seals and a very large bearded seal before I take the various internal organs back to the lab to examine and subsample.   Joe is the head of the Native Village of Barrow Wildlife Department.  He has spent a lot of time and energy mentoring younger family members and numerous youth in the Barrow community, stressing the importance of retaining traditional knowledge and subsistence hunting practices. Continue reading

Bread Pudding Doesn’t Belong There

Yesterday was no ordinary day in the lab, well out of the lab to be exact. We all took a hike up Horsetooth for some lab bonding time. The view was beautiful! And the slight overcast was perfect to keep us cool. Jeff was uber giddy to bring his doggy Hank, and everyone made it up and down safe and sound (double points for rhyming – sort of). After the hike, Jeff and Carol were kind enough to treat us to Famous Dave’s BBQ. It was all so delicious, and Kevin, Fumi, and Emily were able to down a family feast at the expense of their health. At least they still have their pride. I got to try bread pudding for the first time, and might I say no amount of therapy will ever make that experience ok. It may be the fact I don’t really like the taste of soggy french toast, but it could also be the fact that it was coming out of my nose from laughing to hard. Either way, that might be the first and last time I have that eastern coast delicacy. A hard night’s sleep and a few ulcers later lead us to today.

Today in the lab Alan and I have restarted on DCPS and DCP2. We did an RT PCR on both and then a re PCR on
both. As I wont be in tomorrow, Alan will run some gels tomorrow to see if we got the fragments of our enzymes or not. On that note I bid you all adieu, and have a great weekend!

Becca T