This week I actually spent most of my time away from the lab bench doing two things:
- Learning R
- Planning my video series
R is a programming language makes it easy to analyze large amounts of data and visualize them in detailed plots. I’ve enrolled in the Statistical Analysis for the Life Sciences series on edX, where there are a set of courses that teach you the fundamentals of R and how they can be applied to interpreting biological data sets.
Last week, I had mentioned that the luciferase assay I ran gave me some confusing/contradictory results; however, after using R to plot my data and to run a T-test and an Unpaired Wilcoxon test (ahh those good ol’ AP Stats days), the data I gathered began to make some more sense. But, I am planning to run a few more tests to ensure that our data is not confounded by any other factors.
As for my video series, I’ve identified 3 diseases that I’d like to cover in 3 different 3-4 minute videos. I’m now brainstorming ideas on how to make them unique, captivating and informative to the public.
At the lab bench, I spent some time trying to create a plasmid with the RBM20 coding sequence in it. But, this plasmid is special in that I want it to be inducible. Essentially, I’m using a plasmid that only expresses its genes when the cells are exposed to a certain antibiotic, tetracycline. I’ll use this plasmid to control when RBM20 is expressed and when it isn’t. This will be especially useful when I want to test my splicing reporter in non-cardiomyocyte cell types. Since RBM20 is only expressed in heart cells, but I tested my reporter in HEK293T cells (kidney tumor cells), having this plasmid will give me greater control over my experiments.