Today has been somewhat of slow day. I started preparing the collagen films today and the collagen films blended with ELP (elastin like protein) Initially, one of the graduate students I am working with, Hayriye Ozcelık, had questions as to the solubility of the ELP protein. I suggested that depositing the ELP in the acetic acid solution with the collagen would probably work because acetic acid is a good solvent for some peptides. Therefore it was not necessary to change the procedure for making collagen films. The past work in making collagen films has been done at 1.5% by weight but Professor Hasırcı said it was might be necessary to work at a higher concentration, or at 4% by weight to have better resolution for the nano-patterened templates. At this concentration however, it takes much longer for the collagen to dissolve in the 1 ml of acetic acid solution, therefore after setting up the control solution of collagen by itself and the solution of collagen with ELP, the two beakers were placed on a hot plate with a stir bar and were allowed to sit (for at least a day). For this reason, today is going somewhat slowly.
In other experiences, Denise, Pinar, and Albana took me to a restaurant called Dostlar Mantı where we ate Mantı (pictured below).
Dostlar Mantı Rest.
Karakusunlar Mh., Çankaya, 06530 Ankara
0312 284 1965
It is a dish with pasta dough filled with meat and spices. It is topped with yoghurt, tomato, butter, olive oil, and they suggested I put spices on it. I was able to determine two of the three spices I put on the dish. One was a red pepper flake and the other was mint. This was all mixed together and the dish was actually eaten with a spoon.
Before we ate the Mantı, we were served a dish of yaprak sarma, which has grape leaves wrapped around rice and meat and was covered in yoghurt.
At lunch I learned from Pinar that for Turkish Citizens, after you finish medical school, you are required to spend two years working for the government in the health care field, before getting your degree. Albana Ndreu, who is from Albania and has a 3 and a half-year-old son, also explained to me during lunch that Albanians are innately good at languages (she knows English, Turkish, Italian, and Albanian). In general I feel more comfortable with the other graduate students here everyday. I am able to laugh and joke around while I wait for tissue cultures and other experiments.
Anyway, Professor Hasırcı is leaving for Ireland on Wednesday to meet with the other people in Europe who are working in collaboration with him in Tissue Engineering (He is meeting with people from such places as the University of Sheffield and Keele)
After work today I changed and went down to the gymnasium, where I asked the man at the door, “Basketbol, Lutfen?” meaning basketball please?, The people who work behind the desk don’t speak English, so he said what I assumed was “card,” I do not have an ID card here, but instead I have a sheet of paper specifying my existence and my purpose of being here. It is signed by several important people and allows me to enter and exit campus. I handed him the piece of paper, he shook his head ok and pointed for me to take a basketball out of the rows of balls next to him. I did so and went outside to the courts. I shot around by myself for a while and then more and more people began to come. A bunch of kids asked me something in Turkish and I responded… “Engeelezee?,” offering my best pronunciation of the word “English” in the Turkish language. One of them responded to me in English saying, after smiling, that they wanted to play. I soon found out that my new English speaking friend was a month away from finishing his master in, what I think he called logistical studies…but I’m not sure. Anyway we played an initial game, the two of us versus three others. It kind of turned out to be a joke, because for our three opponents it would be a stretch of the imagination to say they even knew what a basketball was (it wasn’t that bad but you get what I’m saying). Anyway the second game we played was pretty competitive. Me, the guy studying or his masters, and a third who had been shooting around with us played three friends that challenged us. I guarded a guy that must have been 6 foot 3, but we still ended up beating them pretty soundly. Afterwards, my new masters friend said that he and a bunch of his friends were going to play again at 7 tomorrow. I will try and join them.
After showering, I ate dinner at what the students here at ODTU call “sunshine” I ate tavuk şiş meaning “skewered chicken” the meal came with carrots, tomatoes, rice, fries, pasta with yoghurt, and salad.