No details=No gain

1 04 2011


 

BIOMINDS has been an incredible opportunity,  an opportunity that has aided my development in the scientific discipline. I was given questions to answer and  objectives to follow; hypotheses were formulated;  and these two parts of the scientific method could possibly explain  the fundamental processes in the optimization of a plant growth–which would enable these organisms to eventually function in an ecological setting. Many techniques have been used to further  this research: (light, confocal, electronic microscopy), aseptic techniques, taxonomy and nomenclature rules, and in vitro techniques. By using this knowledge, we (I) have analyzed the  best method so far  for  Neotropical bryophyte  optimal growth. And, I envision the  reintroduction and  restoration of the plants used in culture.

The bryology laboratory  gave equal timing for laboratory and field work, this helped to balance the mind’s input and output at inquiring relationships between  organism and  nature. The  information gained from this research (lab. and field work) should not be retained as anecdotal, and  should be shown in a scientific audience. By this, we can assure that knowledge (i.e. being a poster or oral presentation) is passed along and that new questions/answers may arise. If it weren’t for the BIOMINDS program, my undergraduate experience would be limited to the  theory learned in class  and not the practical information gained through research. The only thing I have to say is a good THANK YOU for this opportunity!

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To blog, to view, and to organize life.

1 04 2011

So far, this semester has been very arduous one. Test, assignments, and much more have been part of the curricular activities that will enable me to compete with the global market and the scientific realm of research.  I have achieved half the work assigned in my research. This semester, I am viewing the nutrient requirement for bryophyte optimal development using the  in vitro culture technique. We are using various nutrient media, commonly cited  in the literature, and experimenting with  these on the different species. So far, we have already made the sterile media needed for the respective species that has been utilized  for the pH experiment. Our final part consist in the   inoculation of sterilized plant material into media and later evaluate differences in the plant parts growth with statistical analyses.

The only obstacle I am constantly facing is  time management,  for both my studies and research. I am immersed in one or another but cannot be in both at the same time due to my human limitations. Even though, I am carrying with my studies and two research projects for different laboratories. I can say that I have been playing along very well. These are things that can amaze me sometimes as an individual–by gaining knowledge of one’s capabilities and engulfing them into an awesomeness attitude.

Live long and prosper… somebody with pointy ears once said.





Effect of pH medium on the growth of bryophytes cultivated In vitro

31 01 2011

Anthropogenic disturbance has affected greatly the diversity and richness of bryophytes. In situ and ex situ studies have helped in the restoration and conservation of species that have been in danger of extinction. It is unknown how the ex situ techniques can contribute for  Neotropical species propagation . One of the abiotic factors is pH. This can influence moss modules differentiation. For this reason, we study the effect of pH medium (4, 5, 6) on spores of two mosses (Octoblepharum albidum and Vesicularia vesicularis var. rutilans), moss gametophytes fragments (Neckeropsis disticha, Pilotrichidium antillarum, and Pottiaceae sp.), and also of moss asexual propagule (Calymperes afzelii)  for optimal growth according to species requirements. Later, we studied if these species had more specific pH requirements (5.0, 5.2, 5.4, 5.6, 5.8, 6.0). According to pH treatment, samples were inoculated in petri dishes in sterile medium (1/2 MS). At 5-6 weeks, variation in were measured and compared for each. Species showed different patterns of growth. Low survival limited the production of modules on the gametophyte of the  Pottiaceae sp.  N. disticha and P. antillarum grew but did not vary among the different pH treatments. O. albidum & C. afzelii   preferred a pH of 6, while V. vesicularis var. rutilans grew best near pH of 4. On specific requirements, we observed that O. albidum grew best when pH was 5.0,  N. disticha and P. antillarum prefered pH  of 6.0. C. afzelii had no preference on pH 5-6, obtaining more adaptability for their substrate. Overall, each species had different pH requirements.





To give, understand, and enjoy a poster presentation

29 11 2010

Effect of pH medium on the growth of bryophytes cultivated In vitro

Abstract:

Anthropogenic disturbance has affected greatly the diversity of bryophytes. In situ and ex situ studies have helped in the restoration and conservation of species that have been in danger  of extinction. It is unknown how the ex situ technique may contribute to propagation of neotropical species. One of the abiotic factor is pH. This can influence the germination of spores or asexual propagules and the differentiation  of gametophytic modules. For this reason, we study the effect of pH medium (4, 5, 6) on spores of two mosses (Octoblepharum albidum and Vesicularia vesicularis var. rutilans), moss gametophytes fragments (Neckeropsis disticha, Pilotrichidium antillarum, and Pottiaceae sp.), and also  of moss asexual propagule (Calymperes afzelii)  for optimal growth according to species requirements.

Later, we studied if these species had a more specific pH requirements (5.0, 5.2, 5.4, 5.6, 5.8, 6.0). According to pH treatment, samples were inoculated in petri dishes in sterile medium (1/2 MS), solidified with 1% phytagel and sealed with parafilm. At 5-6 weeks, variation in modules (protonema and gametophyte ramets) were measured and compared for each species. Species showed different  patterns of growth. Among treatments, low survival limited the production of modules on the gametophyte of the  Pottiaceae sp. However,  N. disticha and P. antillarum  grew, although did not vary among the different pH treatments. O. albidum & C. afzelii   preferred a pH of 6, while growth in  V. vesicularis var. rutilans augmented when they were cultivated in pH of 4. On specific requirements, we observed that O. albidum grew best when pH was 5.0, and  N. disticha and P. antillarum when pH was of  6.0. C. afzelii had no preference on  pH 5-6, obtaining more adaptability for their substrate.

Experience:

ABRCMS was an opportunity that enabled us to share knowledge with other members of the scientific community.  I have participated in other symposiums and had a view that this one was no different than the others. I knew this was another opportunity that would enable my personal growth as well as scientist, but due to my ignorance, I didn’t consider how it would do so. I did not challenge my mind for another purpose than presenting my poster and meeting the personal from the different graduate programs. Therefore, I had no expectation on how interesting and fulfilling this would be. I arrived at the airport and saw many of my colleagues, they were taking the same flight for this convention. This spark a little of emotion, and then I started to talk to them about their projects and how they were feeling. They were anxious and very interested in meeting new people, as well as possible mentors for graduate work. I then considered seeking more information about the activities being held at the conference, and I annotated the ones I wanted to participate in. Overall, I got to understand the process for graduate school application and how to write a personal statement. Also, I went to a seminar that showed how to give an effective oral presentation–which was don by comparing between the plenary scientific session and the concurrent scientific sessions. Poster sessions were very interesting; topics varied from  symbiotic relationship between cnidarians and also what molecular mechanism aided in their relationship, to the formation of anti-tumor product for cancer treatments. I also participated in the “interrogation” of the different booths to gather information about the graduate programs. I was interested mainly in plant biology; therefore, I got information about the American Society of Plant Biologist, but I also found that there was a Society of Developmental Biology (SDB). This was very important for me, mainly because my future graduate work might involve aspects of this area of expertise. My expectations were met far beyond my initial response for this convention, and I enjoyed very much the social events that were held there.





To know and to be in research

22 10 2010

As part of a scientific community, we have to understand the research being elucidated among our peers. This helps in the functionality and development of a society and science itself.

Student: Roberta Lugo

Topic: Amplification and direct sequencing of library fungal rRNA genes utilizing previously identified ITS markers for phylogenetic analysis.

Summary:  Roberta works in the identification of fungi. To do this, she can use the morphological characters as well as genetics.  She is using a phylogenetic analysis to better understand the evolutionary relationship of these organisms, which can lead to a better understanding of the symbiosis being accomplished among other organisms including us humans. She uses ITS marker to observe the diversity among these genes Other markers used include RAPD, RFLPS and AFLPS. The main goal is to document the fungal organisms and it the evolutionary relationship.

Student: Gabriela Rivera

Topic: Synthesis of retinol deshydrogenase and gene sequence elucidation.

Summary:  In this work, we observe the importance of vitamin A (VA).  To understand this process, she is going to do the  synthesis of retinoic acid and the metabolites responsible for  vitamin A production. This enzymatic complex is important in the intracellular signaling  that aids in the position of the developing embryo, also in the prevention of cancer. Deficiencies in this molecule leads to limb malformation and cancer formation. She is also obtaining the VA sequence and designing primers to understand the paradigm of VA formation and action, Western blot is used to view the process in protein interactions.

Both research projects use gene sequences; one for fungal diversity assemblage and the other for VA paradigms. These are some of the problem being interpreted by science and their work will make this a better world.





Galaxies… wrong topic! Bryophyte culture.

22 09 2010

This has been a weird year: strikes, as well as long and short vacations for all to be known. The uncertainty in  life’s ship can be very stressful, even though we can surpass this and more. This summer, I refrained from participating in any internship program. I was going to take a course, but that was not possible. Knowing that these circumstances would occur, I would have deviated from the original plan and would have participated of the amazing opportunity that is an internship.

The semester will be hard, but work will be done. We will work with pH again, but this time, we will obtain it from the substrate in which plant inhabit and compare it with the optimal growth obtained from previous work.  Also, we will observe if species have different requirements for spore and gametophytes. This knowledge will help also in the optimization of the protocol for moss micropropagation. If time does not affect our work, we will start next semester’s project and observe the nutrient requirements. This is the main goal for the semester, but I would like to dedicate some time to identify the plants I have recollected around Puerto Rico. It is very interesting to see the different evolutionary strategies used by these plants to survive (from rhizoidal tuber to brood cell). I hope to manage all research problems mentioned above and be successful at it. Besides research, I will be assessing graduate school and prospect mentors, as well as  the GRE. This semester will be tiresome but good. Also, research will be similar to that of  before, but with a bit more understanding of the paradigm being studied. No new techniques will be learned. Although, I will aid a friend in some research and there I will practice my dexterity in molecular techniques.





Spiders and AMP; Bryophytes… last remarks! Or is it?

16 04 2010

Learning is essential in life’s processes. This is true when encountering various knowledge far from whta I am used to. In Gabriela Riveras’ Blog, we observe her dedication in screening the genetic information related to gut regeneration in Sea Cucumbers. She is using Race, a technique that allows her to sequence DNA. This is done to acknowledge the paradigm involved in the immune defense of this organism, especially when the intestines are released. Rosa Santana focused in obtaining strains of bacteria that are resistant to  UV. Also, she wanted to characterized this strain for bioprospecting. Christina de Jesus worked with algae and the oils they produce. She used HPLC and Mass spectroscopy to identify and weigh these oils. She  had the opportunity to take a hands-on approach in solving fuel crisis. All these different projects show the fast knowledge that science has gained in last century and how we are working to solve every day problems.

This semester I have gained experience in manipulating, in a precise way, an abiotic factor like pH. The ranges I am currently working (pH 4.0-4.2-4.4-4.6-4.8……6.0) need adequate time to stabilize using HCl and NaOH 1N. Sometimes, it takes 30 minutes to get the pH medium desired, but the work is beneficial for further culture. Time is the factor that limits one’s work, also the availability of personnel for certain equipment. But, networking has proven to be useful at times like these. This enables not only companionship but also to produce mechanism to ameliorate current problems. This semester we finish the pH medium project.

Next semester we will work with nutrients and will observe how they limit or can help grow these plants, and there will be an incredible amount of work. Yet, it will be fruitful.