Jul 4, 2008


Both you and I would remember that I'm not in France for a holiday but rather on a research exchange. This means I am currently doing research (or if you, like me, prefers the more masculine 'working') in a laboratory in Universite Bordeaux 2, or Universite Victor Segalen.
The laboratory that is so unfortunate to host me is is the Bacteriology Research Laboratory. Grouped under the Institute of Cognitive Studies, they have tight collaboration with the pathology lab in the hospital; which is just next door. Staff here shuttle between the hospital and university several times per day.
For my brief one month here, the head of department had planned and proposed a detailed yet down-to-earth project for me. I have next-to-zero lab techniques, but because I am a good writer the head of department seem convinced that I will learn everything in an eyeblink and complete my project on time.

I will be researching the reason why Campylobacters (pictured), specifically Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli have either-or antibiotic resistance to two rather similar drugs - ciprofloxacin and nalidixic acid. I will not bore you with the details here, which involves gene structures and proteomics studies, but what we can conclude from my study is that it's really fundamental, and it'd be a very good addition to my resumé should I plan to go into pathology.
Just for the record, Campylobacters are a family of bacteria which is responsible for up to 25% of food-borne gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines) in many developed countries. They are present in great amounts in poultry and birds, and naturally the stomach of humans if we do not handle our food properly.
My work basically involve culturing the aforementioned bacteria, extracting their DNA, amplifying the specific sequences by PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and studying the reason behind this fascinating phenomena. Would keep you guys updated whenever and wherever possible!


Chen Yi said...

Wow, your research does sound interesting!!