Friday, January 30, 2009


In case you weren't aware I have begun conducting research on Y. pestis (bubonic plague) and its close relative Y. pseudotuberculosis. To fill you in on what I am doing for research I feel it necessary to teach you some basic things about molecular biology. To anyone who is interested, the first thing you need to understand are plasmids.

Bacteria as you might already know are prokaryotes. This means they have no nucleus and have very a simple structure. They are made up of an outer membrane, ribosomes, and a large circular genome of double stranded DNA. It was discovered that they sometimes have additional genetic material known as plasmids. These plasmids are circular double stranded DNA. They are often diagrammed as a circle in a circle, although they don't really look like that.

These plasmids undergo replication within bacteria and the new copy is passed on to the next generation of bacteria. These plasmids can also get integrated in the bacterial genome (see fig.). In either case the genetic material in the plasmid can have some interesting affects on the bacteria. For example, some plasmids are responsible for antibiotic resistance. Some plasmids give bacteria their pathogenic ability. Others serve no known function.

Now these plasmids can also be passed from one bacterium to another through the process of conjugation. Conjugation occurs when two bacterium come into contact, and the one with the plasmid uses a tube like structure to connect to the other bacterium. A copy of the plasmid is then passed through the tube to the other bacterium, so now both bacteria have a copy of the plasmid (see fig below).

The research I'm participating in relies on the use of plasmids and conjugation of plasmids from one species (E. coli) of bacteria to another (Y. pestis or Y. pseudotuberculosis). The research also has to do with the integration of the plasmid into the bacterium's genome.

More to come...Feel free to ask questions.

Semester Update

I know how interested you all are in my life so I will let you catch a glimpse into my amazing life. First off I will list some of my classes:
Chemistry 106
Chemistry 107-This is a lab. (It also is the bane of my life)
Molecular Biology 240
College Reading Strategies
Technical Writing
Second Half of Doctrine and Covenants

I really love all of my classes, except for Chemistry 107. That class calls for some way precise measurements and way precise calculations to get full credit. I know now that I am not meant to be a chemist. My chemistry lectures, in 105 and 106, have come helped in my other classes though. In addition to my classes I have also begun doing research. I will update you more on this later, but I must be off to class. Cheers.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Semester Rap Up

Well good news is, classes for winter semester are over. Bad new is, I have finals week ahead of me still. I have four finals to take this week. Three of the four exams will be a deciding factor in my grades. My marriage preparation class is a guaranteed A. I have done well in my other three classes

I have done well in all of my Chemistry exams and homework. I also did well on one of my Microbiology exams, but got a mediocre grade on my second exam. It is a similar story for my Histology class. I got an A on my huge research paper, and I also got an A on my lab final. Sadly I did mediocre on one of the midterm exams, and now I have to redeem my grade with an amazing performance on the final. I really hate how hard school can be at times. You think an LDS school like BYU would find ways to work principles of mercy and the Atonement into the grading policy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Crazy College Life

Well I was enjoying reading everyone's latest blogs and pangs of guilt struck me. I hadn't written anything for awhile and felt the need to contribute. First off I want to admit that I was laughing out loud as I read some of your blog posts. We really do have a family made of some witty people. Secondly I want to say, how has Dad escaped the blogging? I got talked into it, and I keep being reminding to blog. Mom also got talked into it. Why hasn't Dad been forced to start blogging. If there is anyone that we don't know what is going on in their life it is Dad.

These past few weeks my life has been filled with tests, tests, and more tests. It seems like I should be a master at taking these exams. The testing center is becoming my home away from home. I think I might keep a blanket and spare toothbrush there just in case. I recently had a test in Chemistry and a test in Histology. The Histology one didn't go so well. I studied a lot for it too, it was just a really difficult test. I did pretty well on the Chemistry one though. This weekend I have a test in my marriage prep class. I'm not sure what the test is going to ask us. Maybe it will say T or F: I plan on one day getting married.

In case you are all wondering I am still dating Berlin. I am excited for Lindsay's visit so I can hang out with her and also so she can meet Berlin. I know Mom might see this as her opportunity to get the low down. My roommates and I are planning a dance party for the Saturday after Halloween. It is going to be amazing. Mark and I have already put together a play list and it is awesome. Brandon if you are wondering, yes it is ALL black people music. I am black inside, you know.

I also ordered an awesome Halloween costume. I will be sure to include some pictures of me in my costume. I know the kids will get a kick out of it. I was thinking of getting a crazy couple costume with Berlin, but I don't think I am ready for that kind of commitment. I mean what can you do with that costume if it doesn't work out? And who gets the costumes? It isn't like you can split up the costumes, they have to stay together. Gosh, so much to think about.

Also the ward is awesome. I love the FHE group that I the Dad for. Probably the greatest FHE group known to man. We went to a corn maze last night. This maze happens to be in the shape of David Archuleta, the runner up of American Idol from Sandy Utah. It is a little freaky if you ask me. Another night we had a video scavenger hunt where we asked people to sing songs or do dances. It was a lot of fun. All in all I am having a blast, and still getting good grades [love ya Mom ;)].

Monday, October 13, 2008

School, Life, and More School

Just as a way of update things are going pretty well here at BYU. It is starting to get cold, and I don't think it is coincidence that I am finally starting to feel homesick. Social life is going well. I am in a really great ward. People are really nice and friendly and I have made lots of friends.

School is going well. I recently took my first exam for my Infection and Immunity class. I received a 93% on the exam. If you are interested the class is all about the immune system and pathogens. The first exam covered receptors (TLRs toll like receptors) and antigen presenting molecules (MHC class I and MHC class II). I have learned a lot about the immune system. I have stopped wondering mom was unlucky enough to get an autoimmune disease, now I wonder why the rest of us don't all have one. The immune system is amazingly complex I am amazed it doesn't freak out on us all the time.

I have two exams this weekend. One in my Tissue Biology course, and the other one in my Marriage Prep course. It would be nice if I can take both of the early on Friday so I don't have to worry about them over the weekend. I will have to let you know how I do on those exams if you are interested.

Oh and in case mom or someone hasn't told you, I have started dating a girl in my ward. Awkwardly enough she is my next door neighbor. Her name is Elizabeth, but she goes by her middle name, Berlin. I will let you know more about her later. By the way Heather already met her. I haven't had time to ask Heather what she thought of her though.