Your Questions Answered – Meet the Crossley and Quinlan lab (II)

 

In this week’s blog post we have Lu, Leesa and Emily! This is a continuation of last week’s blog. If you didn’t read last week’s post you can find it here: Your Questions Answered – Meet the Crossley and Quinlan lab

 

LU

 

Question 1: Describe who you are to the Crossley and Quinlan lab

I’m Lu Yang. I’ve finished my PhD in the Crossley and Quinlan Lab and continued as a Research Associate in the lab. I’m planning to move to overseas soon.

 

Question 2: Describe your research using emojis

Lu

Question 3: Now actually describe your research

I’m working on understanding how transcription factors recognize target sites and regulate gene expression including detecting modifications on DNA and chromatin e.g. DNA methylation and histone methylation.

 

Question 4: What made you want to be a scientist?

I think I’ve been amazed by how science can change human life and our planet, or even outer space.

 

Question 5: What answer did you get in the DOPE personality quiz – do you think it suits you?

Owl. I guess so. After many years of a PhD, I have come to be very particular about experiment design and troubleshooting.

 

Question 6: Do you have an example of the highs and lows of research?

I cannot imagine who doesn’t. Not just science, every moment of life would be up and down. When you finally get your project finished and submitted to a journal you feel good and proud of yourself. There is a low time when you confront something unexpected during the experiments. One time, I was running a flow cytometry experiment but the machine clogged in the middle of the experiment. I tried to fix it (until midnight!), however, it didn’t work at all which made me very upset.

 

Question 7: Weird fact about you that only your nearest and dearest would know?

I want to lose weight all the time but am not very successful.

 

Question 8: What experiment do you think is your ‘expertise’?

I have done a lot experiments including Cloning, CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and Western blots.

 

 

 

LEESA

Question 1: Describe who you are to the Crossley and Quinlan lab?

I’m Leesa and I’m an honours student in the lab.

 

Question 2: Describe your research using emojis

👀💅🏻🚗🚫🧬💉😷

 

Question 3: Now actually describe your research

I’m interested in a transcription factor that regulates the expression of foetal globin genes in a process called globin switching. This process controls the production of the different types of haemoglobin protein throughout human development. Increasing the production of foetal haemoglobin therapeutically could be used in patients with sickle cell disease or beta-thalassaemia. Understanding how this transcription factor works could allow us to do just this!

 

Question 4: What made you want to be a scientist?

I didn’t know what to do after high school, but my favourite class in school was biology. I decided to give it a shot in uni and honestly have no regrets. I love learning about how amazing the human body is, and thinking about how we can tweak and change things to find cures for diseases and change the world – one gene at a time!

 

Question 5: What answer did you get in the DOPE personality quiz – do you think it suits you?

I walk into the office everyday with an eagle pinned to my board (even though I swear I was part dove). According to the quiz, an eagle is supposedly bold, decisive and stimulated by challenge. I think this describes me to some degree, although maybe also reflects the type of person I strive to become. I do love to challenge myself, and really love exploring new things – something that research definitely satisfies for me.

 

Question 6: Do you have an example of the highs and lows of research?

I haven’t been in the ‘research world’ for very long, but I can definitely already see how it can be quite a roller coaster of emotions. A ‘low’ of research would definitely be when you’ve tried an experiment for what feels like the millionth time but are still not getting any results. Although this is a harsh reality, I think it’s helping me develop a different mentality in persevering through these moments. On the flip side, when things DO work it really makes my day and makes me feel re-motivated to keep going. I think a great ‘high’ of research in general is the feeling of going into uncharted territory and not knowing what you might stubble upon.

 

Question 7: Weird fact about you that only your nearest and dearest would know?

I once owned sea monkeys as a kid and it really grossed me out – never again.

 

Question 8: What experiment do you think is your ‘expertise’?

In my short stint in the lab so far I’d say I’ve become pretty familiar with a technique called overlap PCR. It’s basically using PCR (which amplifies DNA) to combine two or more sequences of DNA together. It can be a bit tricky and fiddly, but with enough tweaking I’ve managed to use it a number of times in my project.

 

 

EMILY

Question 1:  Describe who you are to the Crossley and Quinlan lab

I’m Emily Vohralik, a second-year PhD student in the Crossley and Quinlan Lab.

 

Question 2: Describe your research using emojis

🐭🥗🐭🍔👩🏼‍🔬🔬🧫🧬💊💻📊🤔🚍✈️

Question 3: Now actually describe your research

Eosinophils are a type of immune cell that are mainly known for their roles in exacerbating asthma and fighting worm infections. But my project is focused on eosinophils that live in fat tissue, where they are beneficial to metabolism. By studying gene regulation and secretory profiles of adipose eosinophils in lean and obese mice we hope to understand how they promote the energy-burning function of beige fat.

Question 4: What made you want to be a scientist?

In about mid-high school I realised that the subject I enjoyed learning about and studying for most was biology. I’ve always been curious and wanted to understand biology in the highest level of detail, and I do well at academic work such as school/university. So I naturally just kept studying biology, and when I met other PhD students I knew that research was something I wanted to do. I enjoy asking questions and designing experiments to find answers to some of the unknown puzzles in the research world.

Question 5: What answer did you get in the DOPE personality quiz – do you think it suits you?

I used to be an owl along with many of our other lab members, which I think is a personality suited to science – logical, methodical and a sometimes a perfectionist. But I just re-took the DOPE personality quiz and now I’m a dove! This result suggests I’m becoming more emotional as I go through my PhD (not only due to the stress… in a good way I hope!). Now I’m more people-oriented and loyal, which makes sense because I like to help others in the lab and I’m realising the importance of strong team cohesion and collaboration in science research.

Question 6: Do you have an example of the highs and lows of research?

High – I just returned from a conference and lab visit in the US, where there was lots of exciting discussion about eosinophils, meeting new researchers and idea-generation.

Low – Now that I’m back in the lab, it’s time to try an experiment that I’ve tried a few times in the past year but it hasn’t worked yet, although I’m trying a slightly different strategy so there’s still room for some optimism.

Question 7: Weird fact about you that only your nearest and dearest would know?

Hmm… that I’m a Jazzercise instructor (group dance fitness classes). Although it usually comes up in the first conversation I have with someone new who I meet.

 

Question 8: What experiment do you think is your ‘expertise’?

Isolating stromal vascular fraction (SVF) from mouse adipose tissue and differentiating preadipocytes into beige adipocytes – I’m the only one currently in the lab who knows how to do this! That’s because most of our lab studies gene regulation in red blood cells and my work on adipose eosinophils is totally different (and similar to honours student Annalise’s project).

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