A Sneak Peek into Orwin Lab

Given the generality of the engineering major, research is a fun and productive way to explore engineering topics not covered by major requirements – E82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 101 and 102. I joined Prof. Orwin’s biomedical engineering research team last January. I stayed on campus last summer to work on the tissue engineered Brain Patch project and have continued working on the project by registering for a credit of research in the fall and this spring.

Here’s a sneak peek into Orwin Lab and what tissue engineering research can look like:

Many of us culture cells for experiments. The tissue culture hood provides a sterile environment (if it’s maintained) in which cells are less likely to get contaminated with bacteria/fungi and die.

A lab hood with a box of Chem wipes perched on top and beakers and test tube racks inside

The cells live in an incubator that maintains a humid environment at 37 degrees C and constant carbon dioxide input.

The VWR incubator in the lab

Inside the incubator:

Inside the VWR incubator, where racks of tubes sit on shelves behind a glass panel.

If all goes well, confluent rabbit corneal fibroblast cells look like:

A photo of cells under a microscope

On the Scratch Wound Assay part of the Brain Patch project, we scratch these cells and conduct Bradford Assays to quantify the amount scratch inflicted on each of the plates.

Moving on with the lab tour, this corner features the centrifuge, the microscope, a Taylor Swift poster for inspiration, and general lab supplies.

A centrifuge and microscope on a table, with shelves of binders above.

And Orwin lab with the culture hood under UV light:

A lab hood, gas tanks, incubator, boxes of gloves, and a white board in the Orwin lab.

I really enjoy research! It’s hard at times to balance school and research during the semester but it always ends up worth it!