Today consisted of a tour of the Sanger Institute and Laboratory. The building is named after Frederick Sanger, who invented dideoxy sequencing and revealed the chemical analysis of insulin, winning himself two Nobel Prizes. The laboratory was state of the art and geared for the highest high tech research there is. This single institute sequenced one-third of the human genome for the Human Genome Project. It is now working toward sequencing 100,000 patient’s genomes from various hospitals and sicknesses. We were allowed to enter into the sequencing facility, which was by far the highlight of the tour. Before entering the room, we were instructed to put on lab coats (WE WERE OFFICIAL). This one room was filled from wall to wall with sequencing machines. These machines range from the HiSeq, to the MiSeq, to the king of all kings- THE PROSEQ. (Please say in the Halo game voice for affect). Even though the accuracy is not as great as the other machines, this machine can process whole genomes and very large sequences. It was hard not to get excited over this new state-of-the-art technology that was so new and expensive that they only had one. I will see you again soon ProSeq.
Today we toured the University of Cambridge’s Department of Genetics, shown to us by a graduate student who had previously been on this program. Compared to the Sanger Institute, the lab was much older and outdated than I expected. However, it was still very open and light with high vaulted ceilings. I don’t think I could see myself working there, but it was very fun to imagine. My favorite part was the small laboratory library that seemed to house every possible book on genetics and anything you would need to know about any chromosome ever. The graduate student said a quote I think will stick with me forever: “You can’t go into science if you think the world is ugly.”
This morning we had our midterm and essay due, but the rest of the day was free! We got to venture down the road to Stephen Hawking’s house where we did a little bit of st-hawking. (Just to clarify that means stalking in case that sounded better in my head). Unfortunately we didn’t see him, but we had to at least see his house whilst in Cambridge. I tried my hand again at punting for the second and last time. It went much better and we actually made ripples in the water! At one point, the Cam River was so congested that you could have walked across the punts to the other side. Our last supper was at The Eagle with their famous fish n’ chips and DNA dessert- dark chocolate, nougat, and amaretto torte. I think my DNA recombined with the amazing taste. It was the perfect end, to a perfect Cambridge stay.
This was our last week in Cambridge, and although it is bittersweet, I am excited for Stockholm, Sweden.
Bye for now,