Is Medical Research For You?


My name’s Anna Lau, we are in the clinical
microbiology lab at the National Institutes of Healths, we’re in the clinical center,
this is the hospital of the NIH where all the patients come do their research protocols.
And then we run the microbiology labs. They’re looking for infections diseases, agents and
ways that we can help treat these patients. We see a lot of bacterial diseases, infections,
we see a lot of fungal infections, so they’re the two main ones that I focus on. I was born
in Sidney, grew up in Sidney, went to college in Sidney, studied premed, and then in my
second and third year I took a class of microbiology and infections diseases and just fell in love
with it. And then from there I did nine months of just intense research in a hospital in
Sidney. So you got to see, like the work that you were doing and impact. And then I came
over here for my fellowship and then I’ve been offered a position to stay. Okie dokie. [Speaker 2:] All right so we will do that
and get it to you. [Speaker 1:] Perfect. [Speaker 2:] Thank you! [Speaker 1:] You’re welcome! So I take consults
during the day from the technologists and so this is where I prepare my micro rounds
for the infectious diseases staff and clinicians. [Speaker 3:] They’re from micro-bacteria,
they wanna know if it can wait till Thursday because they’re behind. [Speaker 1:] No, it cannot. [Speaker 3:] ‘Cause I have it right here. [Speaker 1:] We can do that. Thank you. Top
left, I’m impressed that you guys know where it is without marking it. [Speaker 3:] It’s because- [Speaker 1:] I see, I see. [Speaker 3:] we got here earlier. [Speaker 1:] Perfect. All right, thank you
very much. Hey Melissa, okay this looks odd. [Speaker 4:] So, I got four sets of blood
culture bottles so they labeled them all four with- Speaker 1: Same labels. [Speaker 4:] Different sites. [Speaker 1:] Oh, I think I know about this
culture. Thank you very much! Okay! You know we’re in an era now of multi-drug resistant
organisms so these are bacteria, fungi, viruses, that the antibiotics that we have no in the
world aren’t big enough to combat them. One of the ones that happened here in the clinical
center in 2011 was, it was a bacterial outbreak called Klebsiella Pneumoniae, so this particular
bug carried this enzyme called KPC that basically ate up all the antibiotics that the patients
were being given. So no matter what you do to treat these patients they’re are no antibiotics
that are effective. We’re looking into rapid detection for these bad types of bacteria
and early detection of potential outbreak. This for the mold database that I built. So
we’re just gonna take a little bit of this, put it into this tube that contains like beads
of ethanol, and then we’re just gonna extract the proteins out of it. So we’re just gonna
pick up a little bit of the mold. And we wanna take it from the edge, ’cause that’s like
the youngest part, and that’s where we’re gonna find the most abundant proteins. Let’s
kind of pick it off and stick it into the tube and then just mush it up. All right,
let’s find a plate. So that yellow stuff that I just dropped off were the old proteins from
the run before. So we have a clean plate. We extracted it, which takes about 20 minutes
or so. So here it is, that’s the extracted protein in there, and there’s the squished
up mold that’s in there. In the solution, that’s where all the proteins are. So what
we’re gonna do is just take one micro-liter, it’s just like that much- [Speaker 5:] Right. [Speaker 1:] In volume, it’s hardly anything.
And then I’m gonna spot it directly onto this plate. In here going up this tube is the big
vacuum, so it’s really, really powerful vacuum that the proteins are just gonna fly through
to give you your finger print. And on the top there’s a detector. And then there’s a
massive, powerful laser that will hit the proteins that are spotted onto that plate
and then make them fly through the vacuum. We’re gonna put our new one in, and then close
that up. And stick it back in, and I’m gonna set up the program. Here’s our target plate
that we just put in, so if I scroll over there so you can see that the camera is going to
pass over two, three. And this is our protein that we just spotted on with the yellow crystals
on top. We know that there are like lookalike molds, so they masquerade around like, see,
see the lasers hitting the protein and it’s giving us this spectrum. [Speaker 5]: Wow. [Speaker 1:] That’s being collected. The light
blue line on top, that’s the sum of all the finger prints it’s collecting, and then the
little one on the bottom that’s moving, that’s the current hit. Every time it hits it’s gathering
50 good spectra, and it’s gonna at itself up so a thousand good fingerprints, and then
it’ll move on to the next spot. We run it against the entire database so, and the mold
one is the one that I developed. And then we’re gonna highlight these guys and hit play,
and hopefully it’ll give us a good ID. So here’s our results, and it’s listing you the
top 10. Green means it scored greater than two, three is the maximum. And then following
that we have these guys that are scoring in the yellow range, and they’re pretty good
but they’re not as good as greater than two. And then anything that’s red means that it
was a poor identification. And all the green peaks here showing you where there’s an exact
match in the database. And so that’s how we do identification now. Literally within a
few minutes. You know in the clinical micro world especially where we are at NIH, we have
a lot of close interactions with not just the micro people. We have the infectious diseases
staff that come down here to tell us about the patients. We have hospital epidemiology
who’s worried about potential outbreaks, and so whenever there’s a bad bug they’re down
here asking more questions. Is it related to this bug that we saw last week, and so
that’s what get’s me pumped up. To see that you’re really impacting the way that not just,
you know, a section works, or how a person works. But as how a hospital works, and it’s
really impacting patient care. Which is, you know, the reason why we do this stuff. Get
out there, see what’s out there, get hands on experience if you can. Talk to as many
people as you can, the field is never ending, like it’s always, always evolving, we’re developing
new technologies to combat these diseases. But I think that there are always room to
grow.

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