Showing posts with the label biologist

What Does a Biologist Do All Day?

I'm a molecular pharmacologist, but what on earth does that mean I do at 10am on a Monday? The vast majority of my PhD in Medical Sciences has been spent in a dark room, counting. Counting breast cancer cells that have moved. YES, moved. Let's start at the beginning. I work with breast cancer cells that have been taken from a donor who had breast cancer. Cancer cells can be grown in a laboratory environment if you give them the correct nutrients and keep them at the correct temperature, a cosy 37 degrees, just like in the body. The cells I use were collected back in the 1970s and have been kept growing in the lab ever since. Cancer cells can be grown on a flat surface (or in a solution), in plastic dishes, like this: The cells grow in 'media', a solution that contains all the nutrients they need to grow. The media is usually pink as it contains phenol-red, an indicator that changes colour if the pH of the media changes (pH needs to be around 7.2-7.4 for op