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.
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 ….