I figured I’d take a break from house hunting blogs and write about something that consumes 40 hours a week of my time, my job as a Biologist!
One of the many reasons I chose to major in Biology was that more than likely I would be in a career that didn’t involve sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day. And let me clarify there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just not for me. I like to be in different settings and get be up and around on my feet, which I get to do for parts of my day.
Landing this job right out of college was so exciting for me and I can say that I really love what I do. I actually applied for a Seed Lab Technician (entry level) and got a call to see if I wanted to interview instead for a Biological Scientist I in the Feed Lab, um yes please! There’s no telling what my future holds but for now, I am happy, thankful and love my job!
So here’s a little background on why I even have a job: I’m sure you all have heard of the term “Mad Cow Disease”. Well my job in a nutshell is to try and prevent Mad Cow, also known as BSE or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. That’s a mouthful for anyone so we’ll just stick with Mad Cow! Basically a cow becomes infected with this disease when they are fed proteins from an infected cow already with the disease. The way this happens is when a cow dies from mad cow, it may be “ground up” for lack of a better word and re-processed into animal feed which is then fed back to cows that we eat. The whole reason this is an issue is because there’s a human form of mad cow called vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) which is fatal in humans. Bottom line, human eats infected cow, human dies. Not good!
This is where I come into play…I receive feed samples collected by inspectors from all over Florida and I perform analysis on them to see if they contain these specific animal proteins. This is done by grinding the raw samples, extracting the DNA, multiplying that DNA, and then running it on a gel where a present band at a certain molecular weight will indicate a positive sample. A sample that comes back positive is then passed on to another department and could lead to an entire recall or stop sale on that particular brand of feed. Pretty cool huh?!
I got permission from my supervisor to take these photos before plastering them on my blog, so let’s start the tour!
PS- Sorry if this is boring to anyone, I quite enjoy it:)