Research Station

Living Quarters: June 1st, 2019 5 PM

For those who always make fun of me for brining my 10 essentials kit everywhere (though I believe you all would be supportive of me bringing it here), I have already used it. Given the first day off, I set up my room and tried to make it homey. I had brought over photos of places, friends, and family, as well as my favorite sarong from Ouray, Colorado. So, I used the extensive amount of medical tape in my kit to hang them up! (And I still have plenty left)

The room is a perfect square with white brick walls, a red concrete floor, and a large window that lights up my room for sunrise. I have a cot, desk, shelf for cloths, and a crooked rack, which I think is for shoes. I hung photos of beautiful places above my bed and friendly faces over my desk.

Stepping out of my room, there’s a wrap-around covered patio looking out into the desert. Skulls of antelope, oryx, and other ungulates line the perimeter.

It is pleasantly breezy with temps in the low 70s in the afternoon. It’s becoming winter here so it gets chilly at night. The birds here are amazingly colored and always have something to say. I can’t wait to learn the names of the shrubs, trees, and birds, and figure out what plant produces the smell that hangs heavily in the air. I’m hoping I get to explore more of the study area soon.

Work Space:

There are multiple teams on this project: meerkat team, molerat team, squirrel team, and cell team. Cell team handles samples from all projects so the name is general. Meerkat team has about a dozen people, molerat half a dozen people, squirrel has 3, and cell team has 2. Once I’m done being trained, cell team will go back to a team of 1, which is exactly how many people the size of the cell lab can accommodate comfortably.

Behind the farmhouse, there’s a building for mole-rat research. In the back of the mole-rat facility, there is a small storage room. At the back of the storage room, there’s a sliding glass door to the cell lab. Inside the lab, there’s a bio-safety cabinet, incubator, water bath, small desk with a centrifuge and microscope, shelves full of supplies on every wall, and a chair. In all of other labs I’ve worked in, closed toed shoes and pants have been required. Here, I still have to wear a lab coat and gloves, but I can wear berks, shorts, and a tank under the coat. It’s pretty amazing. It is exactly how I would’ve imagined a remote field lab to be. It has all of the basics a lab needs and just enough of a barrier from the outdoor environment to remain sterile enough for lab work. Granted, sand is tracked into the lab and once a lizard was found under the incubator, but so long as the bio-safety cabinet and inside the incubator remains clean, the cells will be fine.

Song of the day: Cumbia del Olvido – Nicola Cruz

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