• Question: What sort of equipment do you use with your work? What sort of scientific words do you use day to day?

    Asked by ella97 to Cat, Daz, Holly, Johnson, Pamela on 21 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Holly Shelton

      Holly Shelton answered on 16 Jun 2011:

      My top science words at the momment are transmission (the spread from one person or animal to another) and pathogenesis (how much disease is caused!!). There is a lot of jargon in science which can be a bit confusing for someone who is not used to thinking in those terms but I tend to stick to everyday words where ever I can. In flu we talk alot about the immune response of our bodies so we use words like cytokines (the chemicals that direct the immune response in our bodies) or pathogen associted molecular patterms (PAMPs – which are the things in our cells that detects an invading virus or bacteria).

      In terms of equipment I use high powered microscopes to look at cells and fluorscence (glow in the dark) microscopes to see if they are infected with viruses or producing certain proteins. I use equipment to look at DNA or RNA or proteins and how big they are.

      Thanks for the question


    • Photo: Pamela Lithgow

      Pamela Lithgow answered on 16 Jun 2011:

      Hi Ella97,
      I mostly use microscopes for my work (you can see that from the my typical day section on my profile) I use them to look at my cells and to see fluorescence (glow in the dark things as Holly said!).
      Hmmm what scientific words do I use…..really the main one is viral replication kinetics, this is how my virus is making more of itself and how quickly it is doing it. The other main one is linked to what I see with the fluorescence and that is expression so this is if my cells have got a thing in them or not. Really a lot of the words we use are actually normal words but we use them in different ways.
      Hope that helps
      Pam 🙂

    • Photo: Cat O'Connor

      Cat O'Connor answered on 16 Jun 2011:

      Hi Ella97,

      Unlike the other scientists I don’t work in a traditional science lab….in fact if you walked into my office you might think my friends and I were acountants! My main piece of equipment is a pretty high-powered computer, with a nice big screen too so my eyes don’t get sore! And then on my computer I have loads of different programmes that allow me to do my research. But right now, my most used programmes is Microsoft Word, not very scientific right? I’m trying to write up my research results right now so if i have any few minutes free i’m tying!

      Oh I love sciencey words! Just yesterday I learned a new one: Orography. It means the study of mountains and I’ve been telling everyone i’ve met about my new word! But in my work the most frequent words I use are bTB, which stands for bovine tuberculosis, simulation, which means pretend or made-up, diversity, badger (not very sciency but i say it a lot!), spoligotype, which is a way we describe different types of the bug that causes bTB, VNTR, which stands for variable number of tandem repeats, which, like spoligotype, is a way to descibe bTB, R0, a statistic term we use to descibe the number of animals infected by an infected animal and let me think, one more good one, ammmmmmm oh my favourite, zoonotic or zoonoses which we use to descibe diseases that can be passed from animals to humans and from humans to animals!

      Have you a favourite science word? At school I used to love ‘phloem’!


    • Photo: Darren Braddick

      Darren Braddick answered on 21 Jun 2011:

      Hi ella97

      At the moment, I mostly use HPLC, which stands for ‘high pressure liquid chromatography’. I will try to explain that.. Well imagine a mixture of compounds, like for example the contents of a human cell. At the moment, they are mixed up, but by using HPLC you can ‘seperate’ everything into an order, which you can detect and maybe collect for other studies.

      It works at very high pressure, and forces things in a liquid medium (so, dissolved in water or some other liquids) through pre-made columns. These columns are stuffed with thousand and thousands of small beads, and the speed at which the compounds of your mixture interact with these beads results in your ‘separation’, as some interact quickly, and some slowly! Because of this, your mixture comes off the column in separate pieces, and can be analysed like this, which is much better than a big and very complex mixture!

      So, ella97.. Was that scientifically worded enough :)?

      I have also used high-power microscopes, which you can use to see fluorescence which you can put into cells!

      I hope this helps