A lot of people may think that we scientists just walk into the lab, start mixing these brightly colored chemicals together, and call it an experiment. The TV commercials that you see with all of the pretty colored mixtures is not indicative of what we do at all, and spoiler alert, it’s Gatorade in those flasks. What actually goes on in a lab is much different. Experiments can either take 10 minutes, or your entire day. Prior to doing any type of experimentation, we need to do a lot of research on our project in order to decide what to do. For some, including myself, reading research articles that are published in scientific journals is one of the hardest parts of starting your project. We have to go through a great deal of reading to learn as much as we can about how the organisms and genes we are working with function. For anyone who is interested in checking out what these journals look like, you may find that in order to read articles, you need a license to that specific journal. Luckily, science is becoming more open with the community and labs are publishing their work in what are called “open access journals.” These journals allow anyone to read the research articles that are published on their site. A link to a list of open access journals on a bunch of different subjects from Wikipedia can be found at the end of this post! Anyways, the reading stage is exactly where I am at right now, and I will be back in a few days to fill you all in with some more background information about the project! I’d also like to take this time to set up what I’d like to call a “Life Science Live Mailbag.” If you ever have any questions about the project or want to know information that is a little bit more in-depth, feel free to comment on posts and ask. If there are questions at the end of each week, I will go through and answer them in a final post for the week!