An assistant professor of biological sciences at LSU, J. Cameron Thrash, mostly works with microorganisms, which are hard to see. He goes out to the Gulf of Mexico to collect samples for his lab experiments. He brings to samples back to the Baton Rouge to separate microorganisms and cultivate them.
LSU graduate student Michael Henson said, “the life of a microbiologist is that we get to never see what we work with unless we use a microscope.”
Thrash works with Henson and a few undergraduate students in his lab. Thrash had a variety of equipment to maintain the microorganisms and keep them in a sterile environment. The lab has a supercomputer that actually measures the microorganisms by size and count the cells. The lab basically is clean and almost entirely sterile for the microorganism to be free of contamination. In the YouTube video, Thrash gives us a tour his lab inside the Life Science building.
Michael Henson, the LSU graduate student, made a gel using the samples from the Grand Isle water to identify what the bacteria is. The purpose of the gel is for DNA to run on it and have it identified in the PCR machine. Henson went through a simple, but long process to run the experiment as evidenced in this YouTube video.
At the end of each experiment, Thrash and his students updates the blog about going to the coast of Louisiana and doing experiments there or in LSU. Thrash and his students are active in social media to promote their scientific findings in the coast after seeing how powerful social media promoting is. Follow Thrash on Twitter at @DrJCThrash and his blog on thethrashlab.com for the latest adventures out on the coast of Louisiana.