Kaylee Stampone – Independent Project

Kaylee Stampone – Independent Project

Class of 2017

Introduction to Topic

Medical biotechnology is a quickly growing field.  Products from this field include vaccines, gene therapies, etc.  Developing these treatments take a lot of time and experimentation in order to fulfil the requirements necessary for human use.   I chose to intern in this field due to my specific interest in the role that gene therapy can play in treating fatal diseases.  Though I did not get to work on gene therapy, I did, however, shadow a scientist at Paragon Bioservices who was developing an experimental vaccine.  This was a long process largely in part of the time it took to make all of the buffers required for the experiment.  My innovation is a portable buffer making kit which includes pre-measured chemicals that are necessary for that specific buffer.

Project Description

I shadowed at Paragon Bioservices in Baltimore for two weeks over the summer.  There I helped my mentor with the vaccine development process.  Due to the confidentiality agreement I signed, I am not allowed to go into specifics about the project I was working on during my internship.  The experiments run to create the type of vaccine we were creating was very time consuming.  While the machines we were using had to be left running overnight, the biggest time consumer was making the buffers for the experiment.  A majority of the days I spent interning were used solely to make buffers.  This leaves less time to run the actual experiment.  My innovation to address this problem is a portable buffer kit.  All the chemical ingredients would come prepackaged in the desired amount for the buffer.  The type and amount of chemicals would depend on the type and size of buffer needed.  When interning, we made many different types of buffers of different sizes.  The kit must be portable in order to be able to ship it to labs across the country.  

Experience Description

At first I was extremely nervous.  The only knowledge of this topic that I had came from biomed and AP bio, so it wasn’t very advanced or in-depth.  The area they work in is awfully small.  When I interned, there was one floor of a building that was used for both office space and lab space, but they were developing the a second floor with a similar layout.  I remember thinking to myself that it might be inconvenient to have such a set up.  The lab is set up into two areas.  There is upstream and downstream.  Upstream grew large cultures of different types cells to be used in downstream.  All the experimentation and analysis occurs in downstream.  During the tour of the labs, upstream seemed more interesting to me than downstream but it also seemed a little more boring.  Downstream was considered “more fun” than upstream. Though, downstream frightened me solely based on my ignorance of the scientific procedures they used. As I spent more time in the lab I picked up on more tests and techniques.  I still remain ignorant of the underlying concepts though, I just know how to run the test and analyze the results.  My favorite test I learnt about was the Pico-Green assay.  I found it interesting that the chemical reaction that took place turned the wells different shades of green based on the amount of double stranded DNA in each well.  The more vibrant shade of green means the more double stranded DNA is in the sample being tested.  No green would mean that there was no double stranded DNA in the sample.  I found this test really interesting even though I do not quite understand the underlying concepts; I do know that the Pico-Green dye in the test is the agent that dyes the DNA green, but other scientific concepts related to this experiment elude me.  My time spent at Paragon Bioservices was focused on assisting my mentor develop an innovative vaccine that is designed to prevent a fatal disease.  I cannot go too much into detail due to the previously mentioned confidentiality agreement.  Most of the time spent there was for experiment preparation which mostly consisted of making buffers to used in the cross-flow filtration machine.  The cross-flow filtration was a process that occurred overnight, thus not taking up much lab time.  The buffers for the machine was very time consuming.  I left my experience wishing for two things.  The first is being able to see the vaccine through completion. The second was spending more time in the lab not working on buffers.  

Innovation Description

I drew an extremely basic sketch of the set up for my innovation and a list of materials I would need.  These materials include a plastic mixing container, two plastic containers for the chemical ingredients or pouches to keep them in, a magnetic stirring stick, a container to put the containers into, foam to hold the smaller containers, and spray paint to color the foam to make it look more professional.  Since the materials to make the buffer will be pre-measured, it will save time when creating buffers for experiments.  The closest competitor would be companies that sell individually packaged ingredients such as buying three packets of one ounce of sodium.  Those companies do not sell materials that come together for the purpose of making a buffer.  

To find the materials to create the kits I decided to try Target first.  I searched the entire   store looking plastic containers to hold to chemicals or a box to hold the materials.  Every corner I turned only led me to more disappointment.  I checked the toys and games in a sheer act of desperation and  to my surprise I found the perfect case; it was for a poker set.  But once I laid eyes on the thirty dollar price tag, I hunched over and backed away.  Tears began to roll down my face as got into my car and attempted to decide where to go from here.  

Next stop was Michael’s.  I walked around the entire store three times before the need to finish this project out weighed my social anxiety and I asked an employee where the bottles may be located. They pointed me in the right direction then they went on their way to go fix the disheveled fake flowers.  I took a few moments to catch my breath after conquering that intense social feat and then headed towards the direction they pointed me too.  I was not surprised when I went there and saw only glass bottles.  I bought a few plastic containers that I found at the front of the store even though I knew they were way too big. I hung my head in despair and drove over to the Joann’s on the other side of the strip mall.  

Again, I searched the store multiple times before finding the foam section.  I picked up a piece of foam from the scrap pile hoping the lady at the cutting desk would cut it down.  She said she could not cut it the way I want and pointed me toward packaged foam.  I selected a decently sized square that said it was seven dollars and took it up to the register.  The lady rang it up and told me the price was fifteen dollars. I was shocked.  Such a small piece of foam was so much money.  I complained to the lady that the price in the back did not match the price at the register.  She said that it was not a problem and that she would give it to me for the price I claimed it was.  Then, her nosy coworker came across the corner.  He said he would scan the item again on his portable scanner and prove it was fifteen dollars.  He, then, sent another coworker over to check the price.  When she told him she was too busy cleaning up a mess, he decided to go over and check himself.  Once he left, the lady at the register sold it to me for seven dollars and told me that she has always hated that guy.  

Once I got home, I cut the piece of foam to match the size of the box using a butcher’s knife.  Then I placed it on a scrap piece of wood and spray painted it black with some spray paint I had to get a friend to buy ( Fun fact: if you are under eighteen years of age, you are not allowed to buy spray paint).  The same friend who lent me his father’s poker set case for this very project.   Next, I had to cut the shapes of the bottles into the foam so I could fit them into the foam and fit the foam into the case.  After everything was finished I put the salt into both the smaller containers and labeled them sodium and potassium, then I put all the containers into the foam.  I placed the foam into the carrying case and tried to close.  To my dreaded dismay, the case would not close.  I had to find either smaller bottles or a larger case.  Which brings us to today, twelve hours before the project is due.  I am hectically driving to every store I can think of to find a case that will fit these bottles because I know I am not going to be able to find smaller bottles.  I settle on buying a kid’s make up kit at Toys R Us and suffering through trying to make this work.  I also created a website to order materials of off but it is more for show because I can not figure out how to get the buttons to work.

Project Topic

Introduction to Topic

Medical biotechnology is a quickly growing field.  Products from this field include vaccines, gene therapies, etc.  Developing these treatments take a lot of time and experimentation in order to fulfil the requirements necessary for human use.   I chose to intern in this field due to my specific interest in the role that gene therapy can play in treating fatal diseases.  Though I did not get to work on gene therapy, I did, however, shadow a scientist at Paragon Bioservices who was developing an experimental vaccine.  This was a long process largely in part of the time it took to make all of the buffers required for the experiment.  My innovation is a portable buffer making kit which includes pre-measured chemicals that are necessary for that specific buffer.

Project Overview

Project Description

I shadowed at Paragon Bioservices in Baltimore for two weeks over the summer.  There I helped my mentor with the vaccine development process.  Due to the confidentiality agreement I signed, I am not allowed to go into specifics about the project I was working on during my internship.  The experiments run to create the type of vaccine we were creating was very time consuming.  While the machines we were using had to be left running overnight, the biggest time consumer was making the buffers for the experiment.  A majority of the days I spent interning were used solely to make buffers.  This leaves less time to run the actual experiment.  My innovation to address this problem is a portable buffer kit.  All the chemical ingredients would come prepackaged in the desired amount for the buffer.  The type and amount of chemicals would depend on the type and size of buffer needed.  When interning, we made many different types of buffers of different sizes.  The kit must be portable in order to be able to ship it to labs across the country.  

Experience

Experience Description

At first I was extremely nervous.  The only knowledge of this topic that I had came from biomed and AP bio, so it wasn’t very advanced or in-depth.  The area they work in is awfully small.  When I interned, there was one floor of a building that was used for both office space and lab space, but they were developing the a second floor with a similar layout.  I remember thinking to myself that it might be inconvenient to have such a set up.  The lab is set up into two areas.  There is upstream and downstream.  Upstream grew large cultures of different types cells to be used in downstream.  All the experimentation and analysis occurs in downstream.  During the tour of the labs, upstream seemed more interesting to me than downstream but it also seemed a little more boring.  Downstream was considered “more fun” than upstream. Though, downstream frightened me solely based on my ignorance of the scientific procedures they used. As I spent more time in the lab I picked up on more tests and techniques.  I still remain ignorant of the underlying concepts though, I just know how to run the test and analyze the results.  My favorite test I learnt about was the Pico-Green assay.  I found it interesting that the chemical reaction that took place turned the wells different shades of green based on the amount of double stranded DNA in each well.  The more vibrant shade of green means the more double stranded DNA is in the sample being tested.  No green would mean that there was no double stranded DNA in the sample.  I found this test really interesting even though I do not quite understand the underlying concepts; I do know that the Pico-Green dye in the test is the agent that dyes the DNA green, but other scientific concepts related to this experiment elude me.  My time spent at Paragon Bioservices was focused on assisting my mentor develop an innovative vaccine that is designed to prevent a fatal disease.  I cannot go too much into detail due to the previously mentioned confidentiality agreement.  Most of the time spent there was for experiment preparation which mostly consisted of making buffers to used in the cross-flow filtration machine.  The cross-flow filtration was a process that occurred overnight, thus not taking up much lab time.  The buffers for the machine was very time consuming.  I left my experience wishing for two things.  The first is being able to see the vaccine through completion. The second was spending more time in the lab not working on buffers.  

Innovation

Innovation Description

I drew an extremely basic sketch of the set up for my innovation and a list of materials I would need.  These materials include a plastic mixing container, two plastic containers for the chemical ingredients or pouches to keep them in, a magnetic stirring stick, a container to put the containers into, foam to hold the smaller containers, and spray paint to color the foam to make it look more professional.  Since the materials to make the buffer will be pre-measured, it will save time when creating buffers for experiments.  The closest competitor would be companies that sell individually packaged ingredients such as buying three packets of one ounce of sodium.  Those companies do not sell materials that come together for the purpose of making a buffer.  

To find the materials to create the kits I decided to try Target first.  I searched the entire   store looking plastic containers to hold to chemicals or a box to hold the materials.  Every corner I turned only led me to more disappointment.  I checked the toys and games in a sheer act of desperation and  to my surprise I found the perfect case; it was for a poker set.  But once I laid eyes on the thirty dollar price tag, I hunched over and backed away.  Tears began to roll down my face as got into my car and attempted to decide where to go from here.  

Next stop was Michael’s.  I walked around the entire store three times before the need to finish this project out weighed my social anxiety and I asked an employee where the bottles may be located. They pointed me in the right direction then they went on their way to go fix the disheveled fake flowers.  I took a few moments to catch my breath after conquering that intense social feat and then headed towards the direction they pointed me too.  I was not surprised when I went there and saw only glass bottles.  I bought a few plastic containers that I found at the front of the store even though I knew they were way too big. I hung my head in despair and drove over to the Joann’s on the other side of the strip mall.  

Again, I searched the store multiple times before finding the foam section.  I picked up a piece of foam from the scrap pile hoping the lady at the cutting desk would cut it down.  She said she could not cut it the way I want and pointed me toward packaged foam.  I selected a decently sized square that said it was seven dollars and took it up to the register.  The lady rang it up and told me the price was fifteen dollars. I was shocked.  Such a small piece of foam was so much money.  I complained to the lady that the price in the back did not match the price at the register.  She said that it was not a problem and that she would give it to me for the price I claimed it was.  Then, her nosy coworker came across the corner.  He said he would scan the item again on his portable scanner and prove it was fifteen dollars.  He, then, sent another coworker over to check the price.  When she told him she was too busy cleaning up a mess, he decided to go over and check himself.  Once he left, the lady at the register sold it to me for seven dollars and told me that she has always hated that guy.  

Once I got home, I cut the piece of foam to match the size of the box using a butcher’s knife.  Then I placed it on a scrap piece of wood and spray painted it black with some spray paint I had to get a friend to buy ( Fun fact: if you are under eighteen years of age, you are not allowed to buy spray paint).  The same friend who lent me his father’s poker set case for this very project.   Next, I had to cut the shapes of the bottles into the foam so I could fit them into the foam and fit the foam into the case.  After everything was finished I put the salt into both the smaller containers and labeled them sodium and potassium, then I put all the containers into the foam.  I placed the foam into the carrying case and tried to close.  To my dreaded dismay, the case would not close.  I had to find either smaller bottles or a larger case.  Which brings us to today, twelve hours before the project is due.  I am hectically driving to every store I can think of to find a case that will fit these bottles because I know I am not going to be able to find smaller bottles.  I settle on buying a kid’s make up kit at Toys R Us and suffering through trying to make this work.  I also created a website to order materials of off but it is more for show because I can not figure out how to get the buttons to work.

By | 2017-05-15T15:15:29+00:00 May 15th, 2017|Biomed Capstone Project 2017|0 Comments

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