This morning, my PI declared that I needed to do “emergency CD”.
Quick! Somebody sound the biochemistry emergency siren! This is not a drill! This is an emergency! A CIRCULAR DICHROISM emergency! WOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOooooooooooooo This is not a drill! This is an emergency! Biochemistry emergency! Proceed to preassigned emergency station!
Now, I understood his point. In light of the ugly CD data I generated earlier in the week, I tried dialyzing out the EDTA, but (much like what happens with other attempts to dialyze the protein, when it chooses not to precipitate) running on a gel afterward resulted in no visible protein in the post-dialysis lane in comparison to the pre-dialysis lane. Not one to ever be discouraged by something like the inability to see protein stained on a coomassie gel, he declared that I immediately had to hop on and see if I could get a spectrum before I left, because the protein degrades so quickly that it would no longer be worthwhile by the time I returned at the end of the weekend. Hence, the “emergency” situation.
While everyone else in the lab snickered at the thought that circular dichroism had suddenly become an emergency, my PI stood behind me while I called up the Chair of Biochemistry to see if if the spectropolarimeter was available for my use (seeing as how I am pretty much the only one doing CD, the bigger question is always if I can track down the Chair to get the key to the room).
While I was doing the “emergency” CD, I was once again GChatting with said Best Friend who sent the previously posted Calvin & Hobbes cartoon, relaying the story of my morning “emergency.” He asked if biochemists had a universal distress signal – you know, shining a double helix in the air, like a Batman signal. Once Operation Emergency CD was complete, all units were given the clear to stand down, and thankfully no one (aside from the nitrogen tanks) were required to shelter in place. As I was about to sign off, Best Friend referred to me by my apparent new Superhero name…. CD-Woman.
So, if you happen to see someone dashing to your neighborhood spectropolarimeter, ice bucket in one hand, 1mm cell and pipette in the other, wearing a lab coat and undies on the outside (because naturally, that is the mark of a true superhero)… wish me luck. I’m off to save the world from another circular dichroism emergency situation.