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Research, Research, and More Research! Plus a Special Visit from a Former IBM Executive

This week I spent quite a bit of time researching information on dynamic light scattering and methods we could employ to move forward with the particleomics project.  I learned a lot about methods of concentrating samples and separating particles of desired sizes.  It turns out that filtering samples isn't always the best way to concentrate or extrude particles.  Sometimes the action of filtration can cause particles to aggregate.  Even though a filter may say it lets through particles smaller than, say 10 microns, particles can aggregate on the filter fibers and cause further filtration. 

The method employed when concentrating a sample is sometimes one of the most criticized portions of a study of particles.  It is very important to provide thorough documentation on the concentration method employed and also carefully research the effects that the concentration method may have on particle aggregates.  I've read through many scientific papers where the method of concentration is discussed at length, almost to the point where it seems to be the main focus of the paper.

Throughout the week I worked on putting together a presentation that served as both a documentation of the work done on the project thus far as well as an overview for those who we are collaborating with.  The group we are collaborating with is working on creating a micro flow cytometer, capable of being deployed in waters so that real time flow cytometry samples can be taken.  It seems like a simple task to put together a presentation, however it turns out that there are so many factors to consider when trying to communicate scientific findings.  You have to consider your audience, their level of understanding of the topic and progress with experiments, and even the layout of the slides.  It's incredibly important to present information clearly in therms of both graphics and the language used on the slides.  It has been a great learning experience creating a presentation for a research group composed of scientists with different backgrounds.

On Friday the whole group of interns was lucky enough to hear a talk by Veronika Megler, a former IBM executive who left her high profile position to pursue a PhD.  Her story was fascinating and very inspirational.  She reinforced the idea that money doesn't always equal happiness and sometimes you have to do what you think is important regardless of what those around you say.