Since I started my postdoc, I have been doing all kinds of new experiments. New to me anyhow, as my grad school science life centered pretty much around ensuring the good sex lives of my mice, doing PCR, and bugging Karl to analyze my data. My postdoc science life on the other hand involves all these new kinds of experiments. Like plasmid preps! Real-time PCR! Western blots!! Cell culture!!!!
What I've been trying to do since I started is knock down gene expression in cultured cells using a technology called RNA interference. So non-science people, I'm trying to turn off genes by putting this very small piece of RNA into the cell. Sort of. Anyhow. I am of course working with the most difficult to transfect cell line in the entire universe. That means that I can't get my very small piece of RNA into the cell so that it can do its job. However today??? I have done it. I rule.
I can't get the genes to turn off to the same degree as I can in a cell line that is easily transfected - where I can get the small RNA into the cells with little or no problem. I can get about 50-60% knockdown in gene expression, rather than 80-90%. But still, its a start!
Of course, I did this experiment in cells that also happened to be contaminated with bacteria. Well done on my part. This might affect the results, so I may either get better knockdown or worse knockdown when I do the experiment again with clean cells. However, for a start? I am thrilled.