Dr. Hasırcı was around for most of the day today but left in the afternoon to go to Ireland for a European conference on Tissue Enginnering. Everybody here calls him Hocam (pronounced ho-jaam), which means on the most basic translation “my teacher”. I was told the word originally comes from Iran where it is spelled hodja and translates loosely to “master”. It is a title used to show respect usually for one’s elders. Here at the Middle East Technical University however, people use hocam all of the time, students regularly call each other hocam when trying to get each other’s attention or just in everyday speech. They say things like “merhaba hocam, nasılsınız?” (hello my teacher, how are you?) Apparently this phenomena has entered into the city of Ankara, where the people in the city are starting to use it as well.
I was still waiting for my collagen solutions to dissolve in acetic acid in the morning so I went to hojam (Dr. Hasırcı) because I believed we had super-saturated the solution and the samples were more like suspensions then solutions. I had originally made a 4% solution by weight of collagen and he said it would still work to make films at 2%. I therefore diluted the sample by adding twice the amount of acetic acid and putting the sample back on the hot plate/stirrer and allowing it to sit overnight. After I had finished this task, Hayriye invited me to watch and help her prepare the tissue cultural medium for the healthy neural cells that she will be trying to differentiate on tissue scaffolds. The tissue cultural room here is the most sterile room in the entire building. There are two doors to the entrance of this room. You are asked to close one before opening the other and once inside all of the surfaces are continually wiped down by ethanol and acetone for sterilization. Once finished using the sterile hoods, we are asked to turn on the UV lamps in the hoods to further clean the hood by destroying microorganism, which may potentially grow in the optimal tissue cultural environment within the room. I helped Hayriye make tissue cultural medium (as can bee seen in my week 2 video) and followed the necessary procedures for cleaning up the room after we were done.
After I finished work I went over to the basketball court. Because it was raining I didn’t play on the out door courts but rather went to the indoor courts. There were many students inside already playing games so I grabbed a ball and began to dribble around waiting for them to finish. At this point, My friends from yesterday and several others from similar masters program showed up and I played with them until around 21:00 (9:00pm because they use military time here). We played for around two hours, and at this point I was entirely exhausted, I bought a blue PowerAde on my walk to the cafeteria called “Sunshine” for dinner and I finished it in three steps. I ordered Tavuk şiş which was chicken with tomato, rice, carrots, and potatoes (I will show some of this in my week 2 video).