MSU Undergraduate Intern Gets Up Close With Yellowstone Hot Springs

Hello!

My name is Juliana Beauchene and this summer I have been researching thermophilic microorganism from hot springs in Yellowstone National Park. Thermophiles are microorganisms that are adapted to extreme conditions. The hot springs I specifically work with are high temperature and high pH (about a pH of 8 which is the same as baking soda!). I spent most of my time this summer traveling to Yellowstone National park to collect samples and then analyzing the cells under a microscope in the lab. We hope to be able to find new cool microorganisms that no one else has discovered and better understand the metabolism of the organisms that are known.

Check out the rad hot spring site I got to sample from:

Here is myself and another undergraduate student inoculating sample into our vials for culture. Note the green color of the spring, this means we are collecting photosynthesizing organisms:

Here is the microscope that I got to bond with for hours on end looking at samples. We are BFFs now:

And here is what the samples look like under the microscope:

Left to right: The blue cells are labeled with a dye (DAPI) that stains genetic material, so all things on the slide that are cells will be labeled. The red cells are labeled with a dye (BONCAT) that only targets cells that are actively making new proteins. This allows us to observe which cells are actively creating proteins compared to the total amount of cells in the hot springs (as observed in the overlay).   

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