DAY 2: Tuesday July 29, 2003
Got to Narragansett around 8:15am and started right in cutting my vert. sections. On my second column I only had to do 3 recuts, so it seems like I'm getting better at it. On the third column I only had 1 recut and about every other section was a complete bowtie! It seems silly to be so proud of myself, but I'm doing a mental challenge of getting back good lab technique as quickly as possible (especially since I'm here such a short time). I had lunch today with a bunch of the grad students. They're a fun group- not unlike some of my favorite students at South Windsor. The only difference is a few more years' age & experience. I have a former student who is starting at URI this fall and majoring in Marine Science. I can see him fitting in very well here, if he can get an internship. I finished all my cutting after lunch. Sadly, I didn't get a single bow-tie on the last column. There seems to be a direct correlation between the size of the vertebra & how nicely it cuts- smaller cuts better I think, because the cartilage is thinner and not as tough. Seems like that should be a no brainer...
Lisa showed me how to photograph the sections before I left. The technology is really cool. The section goes on a microscope at about 5 power. A digital camera attached to the scope projects the section onto the computer. Once on the screen I can manipulate the lighting to get the best view, then photograph the section and store the image on the computer. It seems silly that I would get so excited over what is fairly common technology, but when I was in the lab, we were still photographing sections with a big Hasselblad camera and deal with the whole developing process. It took forever. Today, I had trouble getting the focus right, so I discovered that even cool technology can be frustrating. Learning this program will be useful though, because we have a digital microscope at school, but nobody knows how to work it.