Featured ‘Day in the life of’: Barbara, PhD student studying genetics and developmental biology.

I’m a PhD candidate at the University of Georgia studying genetics and developmental biology. I specifically study how the parathyroid (what controls how much calcium is in your blood versus your bones) and thymus (creates your T cells, an important part of your immune system) come from the *exact* same tissue. I do this by trying to find out what genes control what part of this very versatile tissue!

Barbara is on Instagram over at @lifewithbabs


Morning: My mornings really differ. Sometimes I’m up at 6am to attend on some mice, sometimes I’m running off to teach lecture. My cat does a pretty good job at waking me up at the same time every morning for breakfast, though!


I’m just wrapping up teaching for the morning! Right now I’m teaching genetics for the summer semester. Right now I’m finishing up biochemical pathways and gene networks, which requires color coded lecture notes.


After teaching I’m usually a little brain fried, so I like to do my more mindless work. Right now that’s tracing the outline of my tissue of interest to create a 3D reconstruction from my microscope images.


Lunch! I’m usually terrible at remembering to eat, but homemade pasta reminded me today.


Now for the new experiment! After my embryos are embedded in paraffin wax, I carefully slice it to place on a slide for the microscope. But they have to dry first!


After the slides are dry, I do a staining. What this does is illuminate the protein I’m trying to study via florescence. So, they glow in the dark! (Well, under specific lighting they do)


The last thing I do on a typical day is check my mice. I make sure to set up breeding pairs at this time, as mice are nocturnal and breed during the night.


Home sweet home! When I get home really varies. I come home anytime between 4pm to 9pm, depending on the experiment. But luckily I’ve got a great support system waiting for me there.

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