Monday, June 29, 2009

last week I used a UV-Vis machine to measure light absorbence in copper solutions. When I began doing this I didn't really see how it connected to my progect but after many long nights spent reading I discovered the numerous uses for UV machines, one of which being the ability to measure the rate of reaction. Today I did my first set of "real" kinetics ( I ran kinetics on the actual solution I'll be using in my project)!!! I was so excited... Then I got extremely nervous; it had only been a week, was I really ready? But Marielle (my awesome mentor) just gave me the measurements and said do what you did all last week. Ended up being much simpler, and now I'm really happy that we started working on the "real" kinetics right away because that means I'll have plenty of time and practice so that when the symposium comes around I'll be confident in my results.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Starting Off Slowly and Working My Way Up

For my project in the Project SEED program, I am working with inhibitors of Breast Cancer Proliferation. Truthfully, i'm still yet to figure out what exactly that is. So far this week, i've managed to successfully learn how to do a Protein Assay, which tells you how much protein is in a cell. Recently, I did one with MMC cells, which are mice cells, and BT474 cells, which are human cells. Tomorrow, I will receive 2 plates of my own cells to feed and take care of. Tonight, I have plenty of reading to go through. Yes, I understand about 10% of the information I've been given. No, I'm not going to just give up on it. I'm highly interested in how my project will turn out and I'm very excited to see what I learn at the end of this summer.

Life is like a box of enzymes

I am working with an enzynme that is required for humans to live. It is a Molybdenum (Mo) enzyme and without it humans cannot sustain life for more than a year. A genetic disease causes the lack of the production and it is rare, so the market for a cure is very low. Hopefully, my work can help lead to new discoveries and eventually there will be a way to if not cure, then prevent future occurences.

Hey! my project is completely foreign to me but as the week has progressed I've started to figure it out. Apparently ATRA (atom transfer radical addition) is a new type of chemical reaction and my lab is working on refining it. I'm really excited to learn more about the whole process. Everyone in my lab is really cool, and nice, and really smart. I'm really excited for this summer and i can't wait to show all my work off at the symposium.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Tubing is great.... Who knew working with very dangerous materials and equipment could result in a pumping adrenaline and raging urge to learn more...! Things started slow but once I really entered the lab I believe I became addicted to the Chem Life...!

Looking Forward to An Amazing Oppurtunity Filled Summer,

Terrance Austin

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Getting To Know the Subject

The project I'm working on is the Development of Standard Methods for Phospholipids analysis. I probably only know two of those words. What I know now is how the HPLC works (High-Performance Liquid Chromatograhy). It's actually a pretty cool machine to use and I get to use it a lot. Hopefully by the end of the summer I can become an expert on the subject.

Blog Info


This blog will be authored by the participants of Duquesne University's Project SEED. Here we will document our experiences, accomplishments, and challenges this summer.

The American Chemical Society's Project SEED is a program designed to give economically disadvantaged high school students the opportunity to do cutting edge scientific research for eight weeks during the summer. This year Duquesne University's chemistry and pharmacy departments are hosting six bright students from Carrick and Sto-Rox High School. Thier topics of study will range from the synthesis of semiconductor compounds, to the analysis of chromium in dietary supplements. For their efforts, they will each recieve a $2800 stipend. Students who excel during the program will have the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. to present at the American Chemical Society's national conference.

Welcome SEED Members...

Project SEED students of year "09" will be able to blog their thought, comments, concerns, and accomplishments! We will keep you posted on our projects and what we will be working on throughout the summer. Feel free to help us create chemistry!

Edited: Mr. Josh Lucas, Sto-Rox High School, Chemistry Teacher.