Hello and welcome to the second installment of the VIMS REU blog!

Today was an important day for all of us interns: we gave our first presentations about our projects this summer. After spending the better part of a week writing up prospectuses and stressing over possibly cluttered PowerPoint slides, we were all pretty eager to stand up in front of the group, give our brief talk, and then get to work on our projects! Everything seemed to go quite well; every intern did a fantastic job presenting, and the audience (mostly other interns and their mentors, lab managers, or grad students) had quite a few interesting questions. After the presentations were finished, we all gorged ourselves on pizzas—18 of them, to be exact. Yes, you read that correctly; there were 18 pizzas for no more than 25 people. Even after thoroughly gorging ourselves, we still have enough pizza to last us through the extended holiday weekend.

After the presentations and lunch, I returned to Dr. Kim Reece’s Marine and Aquaculture Molecular Genetics lab to continue working on my project. Right now I’m screening a large number of oysters to see if they are infected with any parasites. This involves a lot of PCR reactions and a lot of gel electrophoresis. So far I’ve only found a few positives, but when I do, it’s quite exciting! I’ve even been learning how to sequence DNA, and yes, that totally is as cool as it sounds.

Anyway, that’s about all I’ve got for you right now—check back soon for our next update from intern Austin Allen!