Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The TC wars of 2007

Every summer it's the same thing, tissue culture becomes hectic, with increases in contamination, messy hoods, overflowing garbage, poorly trained summer students and fights to even get into a hood. I was thinking of sharing a few TC tips with you, to help you survive the war, being a veteran culturer myself. You could even say I was born in the hood.

First you'll need your own media bottles. Commercial stuff is good, because you don't have to worry about contamination. I always add antibiotics, this will provide you with safety in case an enemy spits into your bottle while you have you back turned. I write my name on it, and a caption saying "touch this and die". I'm not even joking. Otherwise, if you discontinue TC for more than a couple of weeks, you'll find that your bottles have vanished and someone taken your spot in the fridge.

Then you'll need a hood. I recommend getting used to work with your left hand, as the left spot in the TC hoods are usually less in demand. Also if you need additional space in the hood, it helps if you're working with viruses or mycoplasma, or cancer-causing agents ... nobody will want to be your TC neighbour.

Then you need to secure an incubator. This can be tricky. I usually plan a massive experiment that take a full shelf with no room to spare. Now move all the stuff from that shelf into other spots. This is where you need to assert dominance. Once you have taken possession of the shelf, remove anything that is put on there, and take control of it. And soon it becomes yours. If you need the whole incubator you can spread rumours of mycoplasma or fungus from that hood.

Use an ipod, it doesn't even need to be turned on. Like that no-one will creep up to you and start talking about their summer vacation or worse, their wedding/baby showers. The ethanol spray is also very effective in discouraging intruders.

Secure the coulter counter area. That area has strategic military importance, keep control of it, and make sure you sit there with a lot of samples. It's like Poland or Kamtchatka.

If you do get contamination, keep aliquots somewhere in safety, where WMD inspectors can't find them.

Finally if you can't beat them, join them. Be part of the TC gestapo and enforce order in TC. Bossing around summer students can be quite entertaining. Look out for offenses such as not cleaning and disinfecting after use, not respecting your authority and free speech.

Also watch out for bats in the hood ventilator...


Anonymous said...

Kamtchatka ! lol, love the reference !