By: Kevin Kim
It’s week two already, and I cannot believe how quickly the lab experience has turned up its pace! I’ve finally participated in some hands-on laboratory procedures while reading lots of journals and papers on corneal epithelial cells and wound healing – the life of a researcher has many facets, it seems.
One of the highlights of this week was thoroughly learning about and performing the ICC, or immunocytochemistry, staining, which localizes antigen expression and is dependent on specific epitope-antibody interactions. ICC uses cell cultures and generates a strong and specific signal for each antigen of interest. For example, detection of an abundant protein in cultured cells may require a short fixation period, minimal blocking, and may be compatible with direct visualization using a fluorochrome-conjugated primary antibody. In contrast, detection of a phosphorylation-dependent epitope in a section of archival tissue may require antigen retrieval and be dependent on amplified chromogenic visualization.
The procedure is a five-hour process, so I spent morning to afternoon working on this part of the lab. Although a seemingly daunting and arduous task, the ICC was quite simple with the help of the Research Associate, who carefully and expertly explained each step while having me simulate and perform the exact actions and procedures.
I never really understood why there are so many individual lab procedures involved in the grand scheme of things, and I didn’t quite grasp how all of these facets related to the lab’s focus on gene therapy and corneal diabetes. However, that is a question that I am slowly yet surely unraveling and participating in, and I look forward to all that is to come.