After checking whether those cells I’d plated approximately four hours previous were landing on their intended target area, I left work in the gloaming, but after a few hundred yards, I stopped. And thought. Not about a mosquito-like irritant (because one mosquito is not important), but about the small volume of medium nourishing those meniscus-constrained entities. Small volume; lot of cells. Can I really risk leaving them overnight? Rather, if I’m going to attend my colleague’s forenoon-scheduled workshop, could I really leave them until tomorrow lunchtime? Do I really want to come in, following today’s lengthy, careful preparation, to find them in the midst of acidic death?
This is not the usual experiment I’d set up. However, the opportunity to not spend several hours of each of the next few days – including the weekend – with my forearms in the cell culture hood has been presented me by another refreshingly communicative colleague’s offer of an idea, and materials in the form of coverslips coated with stuff I haven’t considered before (neither of which I wanted to neglectfully waste by risking having the cells peg it). As one of the limiting factors in the problem I repeatedly (unimaginatively) address is that of ‘surface’, it seemed too good to pass up: minimal attention for a few days, then have a look-test. Not much of a hypothesis, but we’ll worry about that later.
So, I about-turned, walked back, and set back to work: added factors to my medium, (commenced scratching this whilst waiting for it to warm), before very gently displacing the surface tension. It won’t work, of course. (Always be
negative sceptical) – but you have to be able to say you tried. (Thought: next time, if a repeat is worthwhile… dust off some cloning cylinders.) And it means I’ll have more time at the weekend, perhaps to culture instead my recently burgeoning social life. Spring is here. And I’m still young enough to feel my fanciful thoughts lightly turning…