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Four years ago I accidentally dyed my lab coat pink.

April 30th, 2010 by Greippi

I was an young student, venturing out in to the world for the first time. A red sock got mixed in with my white washing. Despite my best efforts, it is still slightly pink. The shade isn’t obvious, but it still has a My Little Pony aura about it.

Now I’m 22 and probably no more worldly-wise. However, I do now have a blog, which means it is only polite that I introduce myself.

I’m Katie Grape, working my way through a masters degree in Biochemistry. I live somewhere in the UK, but I am not going to tell you my exact grid coordinates lest you stalk me. I’ll save that vital information until we know each other a little better.

I am doing biochemistry because I have a manic thirst to find out how everything works.
I was enraged when they didn’t tell me until A level what DNA actually does. How does it “code for life”? The minute I left school and went to college they told me that it codes for proteins. If only they had told me that simple answer before! Of course the answer is actually a bit more complicated than that, but it was enough to satisfy me for a while.
My degree is answering all my questions quite satisfactorily, unfortunately it is provoking even more. This is a good thing though, it will keep me occupied for the rest of my life.

This year I did a project involving X-ray crystallography of a halophilic hydroxyacid dehydrogenase protein. It was simultaneously the hardest I have ever worked, and the most fun I have ever had. I’ll write all about that some other time.
My current project is a 5,000 word literature review on the evolution of protein folds. Again, I will ramble about (read: complain that I didn’t get to write about AFM) this later.

My main areas of interest are: PROTEINS, structure of. Oh my goodness, proteins are my life. Kinetics and mathsy physicsy stuff. Various methods of “visualising” little tiny molecules. Photosynthesis.
I’ve also done some modules on immunology, viruses, autoimmune disease. I know everything there is to know about the history of influenza pandemics. I’m not thinking of going in to the health field, but I thought I should keep my options open before I get completely lost in the biophysics universe.

I hate bacteria as they don’t always do what I tell them to, pesky things. I don’t like genetics either, which is a shame because I’m quite good at it.

I have one year left of my masters. Hopefully after that I’ll be doing a PhD. I want to stay in academic research and share my wisdom with little students like I was/am. If someone will give me a job to write humorous literature reviews, or in fact any type of amusing science writing, I will marry them. Twice.

Posted in Introducing my brain

4 Responses

  1. cap'n refsmmat

    Awesome. I’m currently working in a lab that does AFM, so there 😀

    It’s also pleasantly surprising to see another person interested in science and writing simultaneously. We need more literate scientists.

  2. greippi

    I am incredibly jealous of you, what sort of things do you do? I’m hoping to be working on AFM analysis of photosynthetic membranes next year, but it’s so competitive!

    Oh we definitely do need more literate scientists, it makes such a difference when you’re researching something and the papers are actually readable. Far too often do I find myself getting confused by the grammar rather than the actual science!

  3. cap'n refsmmat

    I’m actually a freshman doing a BSc in physics, but I work in a lab that does NMR, NMR microscopy, AFM, and experiments with superconducting materials. (Yeah, it sounds like a lot, and it’s a pretty small lab. You should see how much equipment is sitting around…)

    Don’t be too jealous — the most interesting things I’ve done so far involve being annoyed at a broken four-wire-resistance probe while trying to test the resistivity of my superconducting sample. Nothing too fancy.

    Next year I think I’m actually going to try to find a different lab. We’ll see how that goes.

  4. greippi

    Still, sounds like fun to me, although you’re using the machines for completely different things from what I would.

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