Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Keeping an Eye on Things

When did it get to be the middle of July!? I remember back in May thinking, "Wow! I have so much time to relax and do nothing!" Well I can safely say that with work and summer school, I have been kept very busy. And that's just the way I like it :)

I have been fortunate enough to be put on a very interesting project at work. As I mentioned in one of my previous blogs I am working with in Dr. Heather Sheardown's chemical engineering lab this summer, and we deal with creating novel ways to treat ocular diseases. My project is dealing with delivery of drugs to the retina, the back portion of the eye, using fibrin gels. If you have taken grade 11 or 12 biology you may recall that fibrin is a protein found in our blood that forms clots when we are wounded to stop bleeding. We are borrowing the principles of fibrin clot formation and are using these fibrin clots to form gels that can could potentially deliver medication to the eye. The picture below shows a fibrin clot I made in the lab. As you can see it's fairly opaque and not ideal for use in the eye, but that's the beauty of experimentation! Now I get to figure out why it looks like this and how to fix it.
Fibrin gel made in the lab combining fibrin and thrombin protein molecules.
When I'm not hard at work, I love to spend my time outside and enjoy the weather! Hamilton is known as the "City of Waterfalls", and with more than 120 waterfalls in the area there's nothing more enjoyable than hiking up the trails to the top of the falls for a picnic and some fresh air. If heights aren't your thing you can always wander through the Royal Botanical Gardens, or even see some exotic birds in the Aviary located near McMaster campus. Or if you just want to beat the heat, Port Dover is only an hour away and the beach there is awesome! For those of you who are adventurous like me, you could always join the McMaster Outdoors Club and go on camping trips around Ontario. A few weeks ago I went on a hiking trip to the Bruce Peninsula, and it was incredible! Such amazing sights and experiences with great people.
All of the trippers posing for a photo atop a cliff along the Bruce Peninsula.
So, whatever you're doing this summer, I hope you're all making the most of it!


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