posted by: abeebe
I have the incredible opportunity to observe researchers in action! The two scientists that I work with are Aprell Carr Sparks and Francis Raycroft. They are both zebrafish researchers at the University of Notre Dame. I recently got to hang out with Francis while he was injecting ~ 2 hour old zebrafish. This procedure is at such a small scale that he actually resembled a surgeon performing microscopic surgery-and I guess he was!! He first had to create his own injection needle in order to stick the zebrafish without causing harm, and then to insert a VERY SMALL amount of “stuff” into just the right spot. He did this by heating up a needle to the point where he could actually stretch the glass so that the “neck” became longer thus creating a longer, and skinnier needle. The slang for the apparatus he used is a “puller”, and that is exactly what it does! Once the needle had been stretched, Francis then had to carefully break off the very end (it had melted together closing off the opening).
Once he had “made” his needle, he was ready to start injecting the embryos. He placed about 30 embryos in a row along the edge of a slide, and then placed them under a microscope. He then began sticking the needle through the “shell” of his zebrafish embryos, and into the yolkball. He had to do it just right or else he might injure the fish or not get the injection in the right place in order for the “stuff” to be carried throughout the body of the growing zebrafish. Here are some great pictures that Francis took:
I am sure that both Francis and Aprell find much of what they do as more commonplace or humdrum, but to me, it is an AMAZING world that I previously only knew about from books, and I just think it is pretty darn cool!
(more later about WHAT he was injecting and why:)