August 5, 2020
by Carol Lynn Alpert
QSTORM back in the lab; pandemic disruptions
Participating: Jessica, Carol Lynn, Elizabeth (top row); Abhijit, Thomas, Peter (2nd row).
Optics Team – Georgia
Abhijit has had just two days a week when he can image, and he’s working on a new paper with collaborator Daichi Kamayama on the growth of neuromuscular junctions in fruitfly embryos. His last four imaging sessions produced only two decent images. The microscope protocols are set and optimized; the current obstacle is in sample preparation. See his post here.
Peter suggested applying the light sheet technique, but it will take a few weeks to adjust for this and Daichi wants to get the paper out soon.
UGA is opening this fall with hybrid part-physical, part-virtual classes. Peter will be teaching. In Georgia there is a lot of political turmoil over when and how schools are reopening and whether people will be required to wear masks.
QDot Team – Ohio:
The team has shrunk to three; all can now be in the lab, but it’s been a troublesome restart. Chemicals aged; new ones and new DNA had to be ordered; the supply chain is slow. The DNA took 6 weeks to come in, and Thomas is heading off to MIT in a few weeks. He has resumed work on photoswitching with the new batches and things are not behaving as they had in the past. There is a lot of troubleshooting to do.
Elizabeth also struggled with backed-up supply orders. She’s been working to increase the yield of DNA-antibody conjugates for use in the DNA cage approach, and by her calculations has increased a 2% yield to 10%, but there are questions about the best way to assess the yield. Jessica thinks they should be able to get a much higher percent. That would be advantageous to achieve before applying the conjugated agents to cell labelling.
Jessica will be teaching online in the fall. Ohio State is undergoing a leadership change, and there is some degree of uncertainty about protocols for various scenarios and how they may play out. Three-quarters of the entering class will be at home. Ohio’s infectious numbers had been going up but are just now looking like they may have peaked.
Communications Team – Boston
The Museum cautiously reopened last week, after altering many exhibit and visitor spaces to limit close contact and transmission, and after putting strong cleanliness protocols in place. Our team is working at home until the Museum’s presentation spaces are allowed to open up, and we are producing mostly virtual programming for the MOS Live internet platform. We are also running an experiment this summer to deliver our Science Communication Workshops to REU students in Indiana and Texas in a virtual interactive format. And, we are submitting an NSF supplement proposal to run a virtual Science Communication Competition for graduate students at all of NSF Science and Technology Centers.
Next Meeting: Our next meeting will be Tuesday, October 6 at 1:00 via Zoom. Blog posts due Friday, October 2.