Hello again! Today we had our second Monday session, but instead of a lecture, we had our first journal club. One of the really great things about superlab is that it not only prepares us for the practical aspects of research—thinking and working independently, learning new techniques and perfecting old ones—but we also learn how to participate in lab group activities besides research, such as journal club. I’ve been working in one of the biology labs on campus since my freshman year, and every week we have a journal club where one member of the lab presents a paper that’s relevant to their research, usually talking about the broad concepts and main findings of the paper, and explaining the important figures and tables. As seniors, we’ll be participating in small journal clubs like that with the rest of our lab group, but at the moment the approach of one person presenting a single paper isn’t feasible for a class as large as superlab. Instead, we all read a paper, Culture-dependent and culture-independent assessment of bacteria in the apple phyllosphere (E. Yashiro, R.N. Spear and P.S. McManus. (2011) Culture-dependent and culture-independent assessment of bacteria in the apple phyllosphere. Journal of Applied Microbiology 110, 1284-1296), and answered a series of questions about it. In class today, we flipped a coin to see if the Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday group would present the answers to their questions about the figures and tables in the paper. As it turned out, my group wasn’t chosen, which means I’ll be presenting figures from another paper in the second journal club in a few weeks. The article was really interesting—it explained why we’re using both culture-dependent and culture-independent techniques this semester (you get more bacteria, and a larger diversity of bacteria) and described the phyllosphere of apple leaves from different orchards in Wisconsin. I don’t have any data from our experiments to report on today, but I’ll keep you updated when I have lab on Wednesday!
Here’s a link to the paper in case you’re interested in reading it: Journal Club Article 1