What I really want to write…

This week is the end of my second laboratory rotation.  One of the requirements at the end of each rotation is to write a report of the work that was done during the previous 10 weeks.  I’m currently working on the final edits to this report and I can’t help but thinking about the differences between what I am saying in my report and what actually happened in the lab.  For example:

From my report:

Presentation of AFP must peak at some time point after 4 hours, the latest time point studied in this experiment.  Other groups have shown that MHCII presentation peaks at 6 hours or later after antigen delivery; future experiments will extend to that time point to determine what the time course for AFP presentation is.

What actually happened (but can’t be written):

Presentation of AFP must peak at some time point after 4 hours, the latest time point studied in this experiment because the ambient light in the microscope facility bleached the slide before we could image every point along the time course.  Other groups have shown that MHCII presentation peaks at 6 hours or later after antigen delivery; future experiments will extend to that time point if we can convince other users of the facility to work in complete darkness for a few hours.

Luckily there is no rush to actually publish this work and the goal of a rotation is to get a feel for the lab and learn techniques.  That being said, it does make you think about why certain procedural decisions were made in published papers, too…

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