Week 9 Post on Nanotechnology by Natalie Ridling

            Nanotechnology is not something that is new to me in any way.  I have been involved in learning about the up and coming field since the start of high school.  In an earlier post I mentioned this, but I also had an internship working in a nanoscience lab during the summer between my junior and senior year of high school.  The new research they are conducting is absolutely mind-boggling and it is fascinating to learn about different aspects of what is being discovered.  Part of what is really cool, is that if we had another guest speaker come in and focus on a different aspect of the science, we would get a completely different story about what is being done.  Each person contributes something completely different and each is very unique in his or her approach to the field.  My research was in a biology lab and I focused on C. elegans, aka little worms that carry a similar genome to humans.  Some of the people in the lab were working on cancer medications and the clues into cancer solving possibilities.  I will talk more about this below.  My work was focused on identifying single genes and their importance in the survival of the worms through cell death and tumorigenesis.  Here is the link to the Rothman Lab at UCSB where I worked: http://www.lifesci.ucsb.edu/mcdb/labs/rothman/labpage.htm.  When I worked there I spent my days looking into a Petri dish with different wells in it and I moved the worms from one well to the next, but remember that each worm is about 1 mm long when gown and I would usually move them when they were much “younger” than that.  I would look into a dish with hundreds of small worms in it sometimes.  It was always a challenge to “pick” these up with the little tools.  This is a more outer ring type of nanotechnology project, but it was so interesting to be involved in fresh research. 

This is what the C. elegans look like in a zoomed out view through a microscope.  The circle is the bacteria that they feed on, and in the lab, each bacteria knocks out a different gene.

This is what the C. elegans look like in a zoomed out view through a microscope. The circle is the bacteria that they feed on, and in the lab, each bacteria knocks out a different gene.

This is what each worm looks like, and what each consists of.

This is what each worm looks like, and what each consists of.

            I thought that the guest lecture that we had on Thursday was very interesting.  There were so many up and coming projects that he covered and it was all fascinating.  The part most interesting to me was that on cancer cures and research.  I know a lot of people who have had cancer, and many have been close family members.  I have seen the affects of chemotherapy on a daily basis, and it really is such a hard battle to fight all of the side effects of the chemo, let alone the cancer itself.  To discover a treatment that really would utilize nanotechnology to the fullest and attack the cancer cells more directly would be a miracle.  This would change so many lives for the better and so many people could live their lives that much more completely and with less treatment.  Here is a link to a site that covers many different aspects of medical nanotechnology: http://www.eucomed.org/upload/pdf/tl/2006/portal/publications/nanotechnology_handbook.pdf.    

 

Natalie Ridling

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