Moving into week four, I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel of research. Over the past weeks, I have looked through numerous scientific articles to try and extract a possible protocol for my research project. These articles have not only proved useful in determining the best methods to progress my research but shown me the spectrum of research that has already been done. I feel as though a part of a breathing community working towards a common goal of bettering humanity.
At the same token, however, diving into this community has entailed a lot of work. The process of finding a potential protocol has felt, at times, like finding a needle in a haystack. Starting from broad search terms, such as “protein extraction mouse kidney,” I have narrowed down a list of specific articles that are going to help form a procedure for my work. The articles cover a range of topics, each filling in a little niche of the scientific world. One article may review the psychological effects of heroin on mice while another article covers the expression of metabolizing proteins in the human body. Altogether, it has proved challenging to search for useful articles when the best information often comes arbitrarily in my exploration of topics.
The topics of these articles, however, are not the focus of my research. The methods of research found in these articles are the actual benefit to my own work. In order to find the methods, I comb through each article to find a section describing the procedure that was used by the researchers involved. Sometimes, a 30 page article will only yield two paragraphs of useful information. The two paragraphs, though, might be the exact information that I needed to develop another piece of my own protocol. Here are two examples of articles I look at:
To break down my lab-based work, from receiving the kidneys to observable results; there are three major steps. The three steps are protein extraction, separation, and analysis. The protein extraction will involve a centrifuge to extract the proteins of the kidneys and livers from the rest of the organ, with centripetal force. The next step, separation, will be carried out by means of gel electrophoresis, to narrow down the sample to the specific proteins involved in my research. Lastly, I will be using Western Blot tests to analyze the specific proteins and determine their levels of expression.