Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Blog 18

Monday and Tuesday:

Monday I began working on the experiment that Yuan Shuai suggested I do last week. Setting up the experiment is one of the biggest hurdles in this experiment because it can be difficult to find a clear image of the Taylor cone. I kept the flow rate of the PLGA solution at 1.5 mL/h, and the voltage at 2.0 kV. Adjusting the position of the needle was often necessary to ensure that it was in the center of the electrode. I changed the height in small unknown increments because I was unable to precisely measure the height between the needle tip and the electrode when I changed the distance between the two. I was surprised to find that the Taylor cone would still form when the tip of the needle was far below the electrode.

On Tuesday morning I had my first practice with USTC’s dragon boat rowing team. We all met at around 6:45 a.m. to take a bus to a lake that was about an hour away. I didn’t realize until I arrived that this was more like tryouts than a practice. The team will have 6 girls and 14 boys, but about 30 people, mostly boys, showed up to the practice. The final team will be decided sometime next week. I was also surprised by how exhausting this practice was. I imagined that we would be rowing short distances and that rowing would involve leg strength, as it would on a rowing machine in a gym. Instead, the rowing was completely dependent on upper body strength, and was over very long distances. The competition in July will be 10,000 meters long, and I become extremely tired after rowing only 500 meters!
Despite the difficult practice, it was nice to be outside on a lake with mountains surrounding us. I also appreciate the physical challenge and the exciting opportunity being on the team would give me. After practice we all ate lunch at the cafĂ© near the lake. It was nice to eat a big meal after the difficult practice. I don’t have any photos of the day on the lake, but hopefully I will next week! We didn’t arrive back at USTC until about 2:00 in the afternoon.
In the afternoon, Shen Shuwei and I were finally able to get ahold of the individual from the 3D printing company in Shanghai. We will be able to print the model in a black, flexible, rubber-like material, but the material cannot be printed with a thickness smaller than 1.25mm. This is a problem because the thickness of the sclera wall in the model is about 0.4 mm. The options are to make the walls thicker, or to make the scale the model larger.
During the group meeting on Tuesday night, were able to discuss the options I have with my project. After talking to Professor Xu, I will be working more on printing a model at USTC with a hard material so that we can present the options we have for the model to the other members of the group back at OSU. This hard material will allow for more flexibility when making design changes to the model. I will be sketching out a model and conversing with the other members of the group throughout the week to get this model printed as soon as we can.

Wednesday and Thursday:
Wednesday was a great day for me because I was able to learn a lot from the other members of the lab. In the morning I went with Li Yang to create a coaxial needle for myself, and the others in the lab that need them. To construct a coaxial needle, we welded a small piece of thin wire in 6 points around the inner needle. These points ensure that the needle will remain concentric with the outer needle. The welding was done with a powerful laser. Creating these welds was a tedious task because if the wire was not touching the needle or the laser wasn’t correctly aligned, then the weld would not hold. We spent all morning working on this, and finally finished making 5 needles. When we were finished, it was already too late to get lunch on campus, so we went to a small restaurant off campus. The food was incredible! I have realized that some of the most delicious food in China is found in the small restaurants on the streets rather than the expensive restaurants you find in hotels or malls. Below is a photo of the laser we used, and the welded needles.

Wednesday afternoon I was able to go with Yuan Shuai to see his HPLC test. This was beneficial for me because I hope to do some HPLC testing for my release study. HPLC stands for High Performance Liquid Chromatography and is used to separate and detect the components of a mixture. For Yuan Shuai’s work, the HPLC test is used to determine the concentration of curcurmin that has been released from the microcapsules he created. By shadowing Yuan Shuai, I was able to take notes on important aspects of the test. I left after he performed a couple of tests so that I could create my PowerPoint presentation for Thursday’s meeting.
The Thursday morning meeting went well. After showing the other students my work, Yuan Shuai said that he too was surprised by the fact that a stable Taylor cone could be formed far below the electrode. We may work together to further understand this phenomenon. I devoted the rest of my day to creating my presentation on writing biomedical research papers for Friday’s meeting. This week my presentation is on references and the abstract. Since these sections of the paper are relatively short, these chapters were not difficult to read and summarize. After dinner, I went to yoga class!
I found out Friday morning that our meeting for the day was canceled. This is not a problem for me because I will give this presentation next week. With more time in my day, I was able to get a lot of work done on my eye model project. To give the other members of the eye model group a better idea of my plan, I created a SolidWorks drawing of an eye model. I created an inlet and outlet for this model so that fluid can be pumped in and out. This model also contains a patch where real ocular tissue can be mounted, and an optical nerve stump that leaves room for a sensor to run through it. It also features a cap that will hopefully allow for an airtight seal of the flexible contact to the model to represent the cornea. The design and dimensions of this model were created based on the model from the other student at OSU. It is more difficult to make changes to his model, so I created my own to share my ideas. I will be changing this model after I talk to the other members of the group about what features this model should include, and the dimensions of these features.

Friday evening I went to my usual yoga class. I think these classes are relaxing and I really look forward to attending them on Thursdays and Fridays!
Saturday and Sunday:
Overall, this weekend was relaxing. I spent most of my weekend correcting research articles for 2 members of the lab, Lei Fan and Chuansheng Yin. They have a conference coming up in August and need to submit their papers by Tuesday. Not only was it beneficial for me to read and learn about their work, but it was also nice to be able to help the other members of the lab. All day Saturday I corrected Lei Fan’s research article about a liquid driving flow focusing microencapsulation process. For dinner I went to a restaurant called Shan Xi Mian Guan with Lei Fan and 2 of his friends. This is the same restaurant I went to with Lee Kang Qi earlier this summer. It was so nice to go back there because they serve the best food I have eaten here in China!
On Sunday I spent the day correcting Chuansheng Yin’s paper about compound-fluidic electro-flow focusing methods for microencapsulation. Though both Chuansheng Yin and Lei Fan are able to write in English very well, these papers took a long time to correct because the sentence structure was often wrong. At times, it was difficult to understand the main point of a sentence and to convey it properly. After I corrected the papers, we talked about the paper together so that they could further explain the parts that confused me, and I could explain my corrections to them.
On Sunday I went out to lunch with Lei Fan, Chuansheng Yin, and his girlfriend. The restaurant we went to served food from the Sichuan Province. I have learned that this province is known for its good spicy food. It was fun to relax and have a good meal together.
Here is a photo of the 4 of us after lunch.

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