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Strange things happen when it’s Halloween week in the lab.

(reposted in honor of Halloween)

Catch up on the story by reading part I.

I came back the next day, hoping to see dead cells in the culture dish.

Quickly, I pulled the dish from the incubator. Yikes! Yellow media, again! I carefully set the dish on the stage and took a look.

Oh no! The cells were piling on top of each other. I fed the cells and ran to elevator to find the scruffy guys from Howard Hughes.

“What do I do?” I moaned, “Aren’t these cells supposed to die?”

Scruffy #1 just laughed.

Well, I guess you’ll have to split them.

I slunk back to my lab, plugged in my iPod, and got to work. First, I used a little EDTA and trypsin to make the cells let go of the flask, then I centrifuged them gently to remove the liquid and added a small volume of fresh media. While the cells were cooling their heels, I counted a sample and calculated the number of flasks that I’d need to fill. Twenty flasks of cells later, I was still pipetting, when I felt something touch my ankle, under the tissue culture hood.

Oh cripe, it’s a mouse!

I jumped. I screamed. This was far worse than the time I found a dead roach in a sterilized graduated cylinder. This time, I knocked flasks of cells all over the room.

Oh crap.

Off I slunk to find janitorial supplies and clean up the mess.

A short time later, I staggered back into the room, arms full of mops, paper towels, bleach, and a bucket.

The mess was still there.

But the mouse was gone.

To be continued ….

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