During our second week of research, we started practicing techniques that we’ll be using to do our actual experiment. These include manipulating the worms (C. elegans), treating them so that we have age-matched organisms that we can infect, and visualizing them under the microscope. We’ve also started trial runs with different infection methods. None of this is “the experiment” yet. These are considered preliminary experiments that help us determine the best conditions possible for the actual experiment.
Preliminary experiments are very common to biological science. In fact, I spend most of my time researching and planning, doing preliminary experiments, and analyzing data. I spend very little time (relatively speaking) actually doing the experiments that make it into a published article. As with many fields, biology has a lot of “behind-the-scenes” work. Surprisingly, no one has put this into a reality TV show yet!