This video being projected on both sides of the bodyx-size “box” I made is a performance by three different people (Michael Draeger, Liam Corcoran, and me, Zhengyang Huang).
I arrived at the Apache Point Observatory – two hours north of El Paso – with a head cold, which did not help my adjustment to the 9,000 foot altitude. After a night of nausea and headaches, I (somehow) awoke feeling perfectly fine. Walking out of the small dormitory, I was greeted by the immense cube of the 3.5-m telescope I would be using that night. To the left were two smaller domes and a large building that houses the 2.5-m Sloan Digital Sky Survey telescope, the instrument which has revealed the large-scale structure of our universe. The observatory sits on a peak overlooking the Tularosa Basin, an area of desert larger than the state of Connecticut.
As president of Orchesis, one of my responsibilities is to create original choreography for the finale of our spring performance, An Evening of Dance. Orchesis is a student led, Dance department affiliated modern dance program on campus. Last spring performance, as an upper classman, I choreographed a six-minute piece for five dancers, where I explored the juxtaposition between western perceived Asian femininity with my interpretations of Asian pride and strength. One of my goals for finale is that I will continue exploring my personal movement aesthetic and create a larger and longer work to present to the community that incorporates the entire company.
I am now finished with my research endeavor at Fermilab and have returned to campus for the semester. I certainly learned a lot simply by osmosis from being surrounded by my collaborators. Working remotely has been constructive, but moves much slower when one doesn’t have immediate access to helpful experts.
I am already halfway done with my time at Fermilab. The goal of this trip was to advance my research on the Pion Charge Exchange Cross Section to prepare it for a conference in late January. I certainly have been making progress, but with particle physics the progress is often slow at first as you learn the tools. Once you can understand the computer, progress is nearly instant as the computational power at my disposal is fairly immense.
I’m a physics major, but my real passion lies in astronomy. My honors thesis is on the atmosphere of Venus, and I was recently able to go on a trip to New Mexico, with the help of the Charles Center and Physics Department, to observe the planet with a state-of-the-art telescope.
Before winter break laziness (and hopefully some reading/writing energy) fully take hold, I wanted to report on a discovery from the end of the semester that will definitely be a focus of my project in the spring. The J75 cag negative strain of HP has never been the most cooperative. After going through several rounds of mutagenesis reactions and several primer sets, I finally altered the oipA locus to “phase on” and transformed this plasmid into HP. But when June and I started using these strains in adherence assays with AGS cells, the results were, frankly, boring. Unlike the other cag negative strain J68 where there were clear differences in AGS cell attachment between the cells with oipA phase on and off, there was no difference in J75 across several experiments. After confirming that each strain was indeed what it was supposed to be with sequencing, I was perplexed.
Hello and welcome to the wrap up of the Fall 2016 edition of “The Curious Case of OipA!” Since I was last on the SuRGe blog, I have completed phase 1 of my project, and have successfully created all of my mutant oipA strains of Helicobacter pylori. Now I am well into the experimental phase, and have some interesting preliminary results regarding the role of OipA in the pathogenicity of both cag pathogenicity island negative (less virulent) and positive (more virulent) strains of HP.
“Comment allez-vous?” the archivist asked, extending his hand.
“Michaela,” I replied, happy to introduce myself after three weeks of asking this person for documents.
In order to tell the stories of people who don’t leave behind their own written record, historians talk about reading against the grain (scrutinizing the information that a writer in the past reveals for all of its biases to learn something the writer doesn’t say) or reading along the archival grain (understanding the way that archives are built to learn information about people not writing any sources). I anticipated having to employ both of these strategies when I was researching my dissertation in history on gender and sexuality among Illinois Indians, especially during my visit to the Archives nationales d’outre-mer in Aix-en-Provence, which houses all of the official records from the French colonization of North America. I expected to find a lot of documents from old white dudes, talking about the status of forts and shipping, and that I was going to have to read between the lines of all of this “official” business to discover what Native Americans were doing at the same time and how gender and sexuality factored into French colonization.