Thursday, July 29, 2010

More Malfunctioning

Today has been a very unlucky day. I arrived at RIT extra early this morning because I needed to collect data from my zinc sulfate samples. When I arrived at the NMR the door would not open. My key wouldn't turn! :( Eventually someone from the stock room was able to apply some oil and finally open the door. I was very excited and I thought that that was the worst thing that could happen today, but of course I guess I thought too soon. Once I started working on the NMR it wouldn't give me any signal. Instead of a peak, the software showed a very strange graph. Dr. Hornak worked on fixing the intrument, but he couldn't figure out why it wasn't working. We finally rebooted it and it began working. I lost two hours of NMR time! :(
Fortunately, I was able to get data for zinc sulfate at 50.0 degrees and 40.0 degrees Celsius. Tomorrow I have to begin and finish my abstract.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Zinc Sulfate

Today was very busy. Dr. Hornak wants me to present at the Undergraduate Symposium, but the deadline for the abstract is this Sunday. Since we decided I was presenting today, I only have two days to get my main research done and write my abstract. Because of the limited time I had to quickly make my fifteen zinc sulfate solutions, create samples in NMR tubes, and put the samples into the ice bath so that the temperature can equilibrate overnight. Tomorrow I will try to get the T1 values for these samples at three different temperatures. I hope that I can get all my data tomorrow, but I'm scared that I messed up all of my solutions today since I was in such a rush.

Pirate in Training

On Tuesday Bob Callen took all the interns into a newly renovated room on the third floor. The interns sat in complete darkness playing "contact" for ten minutes. We then walked around building 76 with one eye covered. When we arrived back in the dark room on the third floor and opened both eyes we could see out of the eye that was previously covered but not the other. I felt like I was blind in my left eye.
This occurred because the eye that was kept closed was still adjusted to the dark and therefore it could see in the dark room while the other eye was adjusted to the light.

I now realize that the fashionable eye patch worn by pirates wasn't always due to the loss of an eye. In fact, many pirates did it so that one eye was good at seeing in the dark. So we are all one step closer to becoming pirates! Yay!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bright Colored Targets

I spent most of my day helping another intern group move bright colored targets in the heat in parking lot H. I learned about what this other intern group was working on while carrying many bricks. I also learned how to play "ninja" and "contact," and was announced ninja champion. After the collect, I enjoyed a well-deserved bagel and got back to my NMR articles. Today flew by very quickly. I hope to get more work done tomorrow!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nicolas Sawicky

Tadoy I was broed wiating for the NMR to fniish its aqisuciiton wlhsit Bkcey and I dsevicoerd how asewome our barins are. For exmalpe, you can ustednrnad waht I am wrnitig eevn thuogh its girbbiesh. We aslo divsoecred taht I can shrae Nicolas Sawicky and Marie Awwad's iTunes Lirrabies in the bamesent of biluidng 76. Nicolas's Lirraby was betetr tahn Marie's snice he had T.N.T. and Michael Buble. Ohter tahn taht, I fisnihed my sapmles at the 50.0 dereges Ceslius temterpaure.

We hpoe to fnid Nicolas Sawicky soon!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Malfunctioning Equipment

Today I found out that I can write my blogs in different languages so here's what happened today in Malayalam...

ടുഡേ വാസ് വെരി സദ്‌. ദി ഡേ സ്ടര്റെദ് ഔട്ട്‌ ഫൈന്‍; ഐ ഹദ് ടൈം ഓണ്‍ ദി ന്മ്ര്‍ സൊ ഐ കുല്ദ്‌ കന്റിണ്‌െ വിത്ത്‌ മൈ പ്രൊജക്റ്റ്‌, ബട്ട്‌ ഐ വാസന്‍'ടി അബ്ലെ ടോ ഗെറ്റ് വെരി മുച്ച് ടണ്. ദി ന്മ്ര്‍ സ്റൊപ്പെദ് വര്‍ക്കിംഗ്‌, അഗൈന്‍! ഐ വാസ് വെരി സദ്‌. ദി വോര്സ്റ്റ് പാര്‍ട്ട്‌ വാസ് ദാറ്റ്‌ ഇറ്റ്‌ സ്റൊപ്പെദ് വര്‍ക്കിംഗ്‌ അഫ്റെര്‍ ഐ ഹദ് ഫിനിശേദ് ഉസിംഗ് ഇറ്റ്‌. ദിസ്‌ ഒന്സ് അഗൈന്‍ പ്രോവേസ് ദാറ്റ്‌ ഐ ഹാവ് ദി വോര്സ്റ്റ് ലക്ക്. അറ്റ്ലീസ്റ്റ് ഐ ഗോട്ട് ചിനെസ് ഫുഡ്‌ ഫോര്‍ ലഞ്ച്! :)

(For all you know, I could have written gibberish, but I actually wrote about how upset I was that the NMR stopped working, AGAIN!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Field Trip # 2

Today I calculated (+) error and (-) error for the R1 values. At first I was very confused since the error values were all negative, but it turned our that Dr. Hornak had given me the wrong formulas. After calculating the correct error values I was pretty much free until 11:30 so I read an article about ligands, equilibrium, and relaxivities that Becky gave me.

For the rest of the morning Becky and I chatted about how crazy the RIT wireless connection was acting. You should know that my sony laptop is amazing and his name is Drake. I was very surprised when it seemed as though Drake was malfunctioning. (He never malfunctions.) RIT's wireless internet would not connect with Drake for some reason. I talked to a very nice IT guy in building 76 who redirected me to the ITS service desk after he could not get "ritwpa2" to connect with Drake. So this morning Bob Callens and I walked all the way to the ITS service desk. When we finally reached there and I turned on my laptop, Drake and "ritwpa2" connected almost immediately. I was very excited! So we walked back to building 76 and I went downstairs to our lab. When I turned on Drake he again would not connect with "ritwpa2!" Becky and I concluded that there was poor connection in the basement of building 76, but that doesn't explain how Lauren was able to flawlessly connect her laptop to "ritwpa2." I moved two feet to the right and sat in Lauren's chair, directly below the transmitor, and my internet began working. Out of the entire campus, I happened to be sitting in the internet dead spot. I must be very unlucky. :(

At 11:30 we took a bus (not a limo bus this time :[ ) to Pelligrino's and I ate a lot of delicious food. Everything was really yummy! We arrived at the University of Rochester and heard a presentation about the Biomedical Engineering program at the U of R. I really enjoyed this presentation and the following laboratory tours because I am very interested in Biomedical Engineering and the great potential of its research. In one of the labs the grad student did an ultrasound of my arm which was very cool! You could see the movement in my wrist when I moved my hand. Our tour was interrupted by a FIRE! Everyone walked outside into the rain and waited until it was clear to re-enter.

All of the interns climbed onto the bus and headed back to RIT. Some of the boys had grabbed a bunch of straws on the way out of Pelligrino's and began launching spit-balls throughout the bus, many of which landed in my hair. :( Rebecca and I will one day retaliate with a surprise spit-ball attack so BOYS BEWARE!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Although I believe that "IPESNRUHTERIRANP" truly unscrambles into either INNER PIRATE PHURS or HUNTER RAIN PIPES, Bob Callens is looking for one word.

So I guess the word could be INTRAPRENEURSHIP which means:

1. The practice of applying entrepreneurial skills and approaches within an established company.
2. Being creative with ideas and procedures.

and I guess we (the CIS interns) might be intrapreneurs. :)

(Intrapreneurship is 16 letters long. Wow.)

More Moving!

I spent Monday morning completing my propagation of error calculations. The calculations and formulas looked pretty intimidating so I thought I would be spending the whole day punching numbers into my calc, but after the first few calculations I realized that propagation of error was pretty simple once you understood it. Also, Excel made my life a lot easier!

Later in the day I met an incoming Freshman, Lauren, who was participating in the Freshman Honors program and would also be working we Dr. Hornak. Becky and I had to make room for a third person in our lab. I was happy that another person would be sitting in our COLD lab with us because we need all the body heat that we can get! :) We had to move around a bunch of tables and unplug a couple of wires in order to make enough room for everyone. By the end of the day our lab looked very organized. I was having a wonderful carefree day until I received an e-mail from Dr. Hornak. He was replying to my e-mail with the attachment of the work I had completed in the morning. He thought that I might have sent him the incorrect file, since the file I sent did not have any completed calculations. It turned out that none of my work done in the morning had been saved! I ALWAYS, always, always save my work. I know that I clicked save every 2 minutes, but somehow it didn't work! I was very upset.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Today after the morning meeting and had a small meeting with Dr. Hornak. We talked about my data, propagation of error, and what I should be doing next. Unfortunately some of my data points are a little off and when we deleted those points my graph looked much better. I have to remake those solutions and re-test them on the NMR. The only problem is that I can't do that, because the NMR machine isn't working! All of my research centers around the NMR machine and its broken! Hopefully it will be fixed by early next week. Until then I have MANY calculations to make. Dr. Hornak talked about propagation of error, standard deviation, etc. I was really excited because I actually understood what he was talking about because of my past knowledge in statistics. I realized that there are many steps that can cause uncertainties in the molarity of a solution, and I have to calculate all of the uncertainties. The balancing of the mass of the CuSO4 used to make the stock solution has an error, the volumetric flask has an error, and so does the pipette. There are so many things to take into account and I'm worried that I might accidentally miss something. I got started on my many calculations on the slow computer in our lab; I really think we should get a new one. ;)

NMR Tube Cleaner

On Thursday I seemed to have some free time in the morning while waiting for my time on the NMR. Besides cleaning NMR tubes, which becomes somewhat boring after a while, I wasn't being as productive as I wanted to be. After lunch I got to use the NMR and acquired data for almost all of my samples. Unfortunately, one of the NMR tubes did not fit into the ceramic spinner so I was not able to test the 1.5 mM CuSO4 sample. I was a little annoyed because I was very close to finishing all of my fifteen samples in one and a half hour (it would have been record time!!). While I was working Dr. Hornak came in and was trying to fix a problem with the NMR. During this time I got the chance to ask Dr. Hornak if he had any suggestions for what I should do in my free time, besides clean NMR tubes, and if he could give me another project to work on along with the temperature variation project I am working on right now. After today, I believe that I have become an official NMR tube cleaner expert! :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jumbo Subs

Today was a field trip day. All of the other interns enjoyed a couple extra minutes of sleep, but I had to wake up extra early to get to RIT at 7:30 in the morning. This was the only time that I could be dropped off at RIT and I needed to use the NMR machine before we left for our field trip.

I was a bit annoyed that I had to wake up so early, but when I realized that we were traveling "in style" to JML Optics I got very excited! The limo bus that we piled into was very comfy and I felt very important. Once we arrived at JML Optics with our cool safety glasses we split up into groups and toured the building. My absolute favorite part was when we saw the $1,200 chunk of glass. The rest of the tour was interesting, but it smelled kind of bad and I was really hungry. After a short presentation we left JML Optics and traveled to Amiel's and I finally ate some food. (yay!!!) Helen, Rebecca, and I all got Jumbo subs. I decided to try something new and had a seafood jumbo sub with a Fuze strawberry guava flavored drink. The seafood didn't taste as bad as I thought it might in my sub and I really liked the strawberry guava Fuze. I think I might start trying something new everyday! On the way back to RIT we took some pictures and had a mini dance party. :)

After our field trip I got back to work with a very full stomach. I showed Dr. Hornak my data and planned out my day tomorrow. Then Rebecca and I joined the other interns outside playing volleyball. I am not that amazing at volleyball and it felt like it was 120 degrees outside, but I still had a lot of fun playing for the rest of the day.

Mocha Frapp Ice Cream

Tuesday I started something new. After seeing that the graph I created with my new solutions was a little nicer than my old one, I decided to start working on how different temperature variations had an effect on the graph. I signed up for some NMR time and tested all of my samples at 30.0 degrees Celsius. After working with the NMR I did some reading and cleaned some NMR tubes. Tuesday was a pretty relaxed day overall. I even got to eat some mocha frappaccino ice cream from crossroads! It was definitely my favorite part of the day!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Old Computers

Today seemed to fly by very quickly. At the start of the day I felt angry and awkward. I was angry at my siblings for making me late for work and I felt awkward walking into the meeting room full of interns at 8:50. When I get my license (hopefully soon!!!) and drive to work on my own this will never happen! After apologizing to Bob Callens for my tardiness I had a short talk with Dr. Hornak before we began cleaning up in the MRI labs in the basement. We moved around some desks and connected some wires. Eventually we had two neat desks with two slow, but working, computers sitting on them. This was a very educational experience. I realized exactly what excited Dr. Hornak! He enjoys cleaning computers and their corresponding equipment with air pipes. I understand this perfectly since he is using his years of education and lab training for simple home activities. After cleaning and organizing I created a chart of my R1 values on excel. Unfortunately some of my data points were off so I had to remake some solutions. After remaking these solutions I took a lunch break that was a tad longer than usual since I was having lunch with my friend. I spent the rest of the day reading about NMR, cleaning NMR tubes, testing more CuSO4 and Omniscan samples, and trying to work with the slow computers in our lab. Today was fun; I got to listen to some Taylor Swift!

First Friday

Friday was another day of learning. I started the morning finding the T1 values of each sample that I created, each with different amounts of CuSO4 and Omniscan. The process became easier as I repeated it. I was very excited to be using the NMR and the software while understanding what I was doing. For example; I knew that when I typed "ft" into the commands box the data would transform using a fourier transform. Everything was working, but one of my T1 points was completely off so I had to remake the solution that it referred to.

After my time on the NMR I had some lunch and Becky and I moved to the lab in the bigger Imaging Science building. After getting cleaning up in there I began to use the NMR tube cleaner to clean out the MANY old NMR tubes. I then remade some solutions and then finished testing my samples in the NMR. After walking through the pouring rain with no umbrella and putting the cleaned NMR tubes into the stove, I headed home.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cleaning, Measurements & Solutions

Today started out with a lesson about solutions. Dr. Hornak reviewed which solutions I would be preparing and how I would prepare them. I loved this lesson because I felt like I understood everything. It was all chemistry, which is my territory. After the lesson we headed over to building 8 to watch Yugie, a PhD student, work with the NMR machine. I was supposed to get a feel for how the system works and how to collect data. Unfortunately the NMR was not working properly this morning. For some reason when Yugie tried to "wobb" the computer kept saying that there was an acquisition in progress, which meant the machine was already doing some experiment or measuring something. You would think that this would not be a great problem, but no matter what Dr. Hornak tried he could not stop the acquisition that was currently in progress. He even tried entering the "kill" command! Eventually the only choice was to reboot the system. I basically learned that the NMR is constantly malfunctioning and to bring a sweatshirt tomorrow since the NMR room is FREEZING!

After this interesting morning I began to work on solutions with Becky. Becky taught me how to clean the 100 mL volumetric flasks and how to make the right calculations to create the many solutions. Surprisingly, cleaning took up a lot of the day. After receiving the 17 volumetric flasks from the stock room I learned about the water filter system in the lab. Unfortunately, like the NMR, it is constantly malfunctioning. When the filter system shows the number 18, the water is pure; without any metals, etc. Becky explained that since the system isn't working properly it takes a very long time for the purity level to reach 18. So after the system finally reached a level around 17.8 we washed each flask with water and soap. We then proceeded to clean each flask with HCl. Before finishing the rest of the cleaning process, I met up with the rest of the interns to eat lunch in the Student Alumni Union where I played an intense game of air hockey.

I then began my failed attempt to receive keys to the labs I will be using in the College of Science. Hopefully, after I get one more signiture, I will be adding my building 8 keys to my lanyard tomorrow. I then continued my lengthy cleaning process and waited for the water filter to reach atleast 17.8. After a very long wait I rinsed out each flask 4 or 5 times with deionized water.

I was finally ready to start preparing the solutions! Becky helped me make all the neccessary calculations before she went to meet with Dr. Hornak. I added the amounts of CuSO4 that we had calculated to the different flasks and calculated the measurements for the .05 M omniscan stock solution. After adding 2 mL of omniscan to the CuSo4 solutions I filled the flask to the 100 mL line with deionized (DI) water. After the solutions were ready I went through my first NMR acquisition with Becky on the old computer. I was very excited when everything worked correctly and when I was able to create a very nice looking graph. I started to creat more NMR samples to test before I headed home. I learned a lot today about solutions and the NMR machine. I finally started lab work!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Keys and Online Fun

After our short meeting this morning, I finally met Dr. Joe Hornak. I was really excited to start working, to see MRI labs, and to learn about the project that I would be working on. Dr. Hornak began to explain the project and what MRI was all about. I learned about constrast agents, plotting, and NMR.

After my first lesson we headed out to see the labs I would be working in. I will be working in three labs in the Imaging Science building and a couple more in building 8. I had not realized that I would be working in so many areas instead of only one. I had a collection of about six available rooms to work in this summer. Dr. Hornak gave me the freedom to use whichever room I wanted to. [I am probably going to spend most of my time in the nice and cold lab in the imaging science department due to the icky 90+ degree weather in Rochester these days. I don't want to get heat stroke or die of dehydration. ;)]

After roaming through all of the labs and meeting with Becky, a fourth year student at RIT who will probably be teaching me a lot about MRI and NMR this summer, I received my first three work keys. I added them to my RIT lanyard and felt very important and responsible; I was carrying around keys that unlocked labs and college buildings in my pocket!
Unfortunately, Dr. Hornak informed me that the people with the most keys are usually the least important. :(
Hopefully someday in the future I will have a master key that will unlock every door!

I then tried to understand the annoying Macs in the computer lab. Fortunately, I was able to figure out how to watch the RIT slide show called Laboratory Safety Training and take the Lab Safety Test before I had my first lunch at Crossroads. Yummy Chinese!

After lunch I spent the day reading Dr. Hornak's online book and learning more about MRI and NMR. I tried to absorb as much information as I could, but it was difficult to understand concepts such as fourier transforms and pulse sequences.
Today was a lot of reading and watching. Here's hoping for some lab action tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

First Day

Today, when I arrived at RIT at 8:45 for our daily staff meeting, I was not sure what to expect. I knew that this summer I would be working with Dr. Joe Hornak as a MRI intern, but I did not know what kind of work I would be doing and the different personalities of my fellow interns.

We started the day receiving cool RIT lanyards with usb attached and learning how to keep track of our hours by swiping our cards. (This is apparently extremely important to do correctly.) We were then split into three groups and given a packet of images (front and back) of different statues, signs, etc from all around the RIT campus. We were told to find the images in the packet and videotape our findings. After two hours of running around the RIT campus in 96 degree weather we reported back to the meeting room for free pizza and cold drinks. (Which I was extremely excited about since I was seriously dehydrated from our scavenger hunt.) After lunch we tried creating a dvd of our scavenger hunt but unfortunately iMovie was not working for our group. :( After watching each group's video and clips we headed downstairs to get some free RIT Imaging Science t-shirts. Then I was off to JAVA'S before I headed home.

Today was fun since I got to see the RIT campus, meet the other interns, and go to Java's. I am excited to finally see the MRI Lab tomorrow.