“For my agarose gel, should i use agar-agar or bacto-agar?”

I had a difficult experience at the start of my PhD. I was about a month into it when I was talking to my supervisor, who I’ll call James, in the lab. Behind him was a sign hanging from the light cord with the legend:

Beware! High stress levels – James working in the lab

This explains why I particularly enjoyed the latest PhD cartoon:

And now I’m a PI, I have established myself in a field without labs. It’s the kindest way for all concerned.

About rpg

Scientist, poet, gadfly
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3 Responses to “For my agarose gel, should i use agar-agar or bacto-agar?”

  1. Anna Kushnir says:

    How wonderfully spot on. My PI demanded that a bench always remain reserved for her, with her name on a drawer and a set of pipettes. In my six years in her lab, I never saw her touch either the pipettes, or the bench even once. She did periodically come in to the lab to tell me how I was so spoiled and not hard core because I wore gloves in the tissue culture hood and while infecting mice with herpes. No gloves were needed in her day, apparently. [Shudder]. Of course there were also those PIs around who would come into lab to experiment, break something expensive and leave a ginormous mess for others to clean up.
    It is strange how scientists start out working with their hands and end up with desk jobs. It’s a blessing for many, who were horrible at the bench, but a disappointment to others, I would imagine.

  2. Heather Etchevers says:

    It’s humbling and annoying to fall out of practice, when you were good at the bench stuff. Microdissection, for example. Ack. Don’t get me started.

  3. Cath Ennis says:

    My PhD supervisor was a hands-on kinda guy (built his own boat and all that) and loved to come into the lab occasionally. He was often the only person in the lab who could get a fiddly technique to work. He also took me through my first cloning work and Western blots.
    Mind you he once offered to digest a plasmid and purify the fragment for me while I worked on a conference poster (I think he was bored). He ran it off the end of the gel, not once, but twice…