“In my area, we are focused on testing and proving (or disproving) theories which can ultimately lead to new medicines. I work in the cell programming lab, where we grow and transform stem cells into different kinds of neuronal (or nerve) cells. Additionally, I work with different kinds of viruses that allow me to turn on/off different kinds of genes inside these neuronal cells to mimic disease characteristics, which are in turn used to establish assays (or tests) to support experiments across all biological areas. These processes can be quite detailed, requiring a multitude of steps, varying materials and months of work.
Recent long-term experiments involve the growing of these neuronal cells which have undergone genetic modifications and continue to require additional maintenance. I continue my weekly visits to the lab to maintain these neuronal cells in culture, apply the necessary treatments and then prepare the cells for final evaluation. Analysis of these cells will ultimately be evaluated under a high content imaging microscope, but until that time, it is of utmost importance that the data itself remain safe and preserved properly.
To ensure our personal safety, we work in teams to divide the workload and come into the lab at different hours on different days to avoid any unnecessary overlap. When not in the lab, I work from home, having repurposed my guest room as a temporary office. Here I use my time to review late phase experiments and plan for new ones. I miss my colleagues and work environment very much, and look forward to the reopening of our labs in the not-too-distant future.”