Adventures in a Stem Cell Lab

These past three weeks have been quite eventful! I started working in a stem cell laboratory, and the research focuses on the NOTCH-signaling pathways of bone marrow stromal stem cells (BMSCs). This basically means we are studying how certain bone marrow stem cells differentiate into the specific bone cells needed for bone regeneration. We are studying a particular cell-signaling pathway called “NOTCH,” which must be activated in order for these stem cells to proliferate and become bone marrow stem cells.

I won’t ramble on about the scientific mechanisms behind everything, because that will just bore you. There’s just so much to explain about this research, and although I find it all very interesting, I know it wouldn’t sound as exciting as I want it to be if I just started info-dumping this post with a bunch of scientific vocabulary.

So instead of dumping a load of information about everything I’m learning, I decided to post a few flash fiction stories that can give you a better idea of what’s happening in my lab at the moment. If you want to know the specifics behind the experiments we are doing, by all means, post your questions in a comment! Or feel free to email me directly. I would be more than happy to explain the research in more detail, and I’ll especially love to share how the experiments correlate to the flash fiction I will be posting.

So stay tuned for more lab-based blog posts and flash fiction! 🙂

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2 Responses to Adventures in a Stem Cell Lab

  1. Parker J says:

    Are the stem cells coming from cadavers or live hosts?
    What’s it like to work in a lab?
    What’s the best job/worst job you can have in a facility like that?
    Has working with stem cells given you a different perspective about the use of embryonic stem cells? Or, if you are using embryonic stem cells, how does that affect your ideas about the uproar with the pro-life community?
    How much fun are you having?

    I figure I’ll throw a informational question, controversial question, and personal question in there so when you do your flash fiction, you can address them as you see fit!

    • The stem cells come from mice! Working with the mice has been the most exciting part of the lab, since I’ve gotten to isolate the bones from their legs, as well as the embryos from the pregnant ones. So I’m having a lot of fun! I almost feel like I’m learning how to do surgery when I do these procedures 🙂 And when I’m mixing solutions or preparing cell culture media, I feel like a cook– the process is a lot like preparing a recipe, except your end product is cell culture media rather than food.
      I would say the best job in the facility is the job of a researcher with a PhD, because you will have more control over what experiments you may run, whereas a grad or undergrad student must be supervised. I’m not sure what the worst job would be since I haven’t been exposed to all the different positions in the lab just yet.
      As for your question about the use of embryonic stem cells, working in a lab with stem cells has not changed my perspective. We do use embryonic stem cells from the mice embryos we isolate, and in my opinion, the experiments we run with these cells can provide very useful results for future projects on regenerative medicine.
      I’ll definitely address some of these questions in my flash fiction stories, so feel free to ask me as many questions as you want!

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