Hi all, Jordan here! At Georgia Street Media, we often find ourselves filming the latest technological and medical advances in various labs and research facilities across the lower mainland. One of the organizations that sends us to these institutions is the Cambridge based Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), which is the world’s first peer reviewed scientific video journal. From documenting delicate surgeries through a microscope to shooting the latest lab techniques, our work with JoVE is always fascinating and exciting!
Taking a look under the hood with Sylvia Cheung at the Jack Bell Research Centre
Transfecting luciferase reporter constructs into RAW264.7 cells without activating the cells. I’m not a scientist, but this procedure had something to do with activating the light from fireflies.
As a child, I was a bit of a mad scientist/inventor – constructing various “time-saving” gadgets from spare parts that often lead to the small-scale destruction of my parents’ house. Other experiments resulted in minor explosions and and electric shocks, so it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t pursue that career and instead ended up safely observing professionals do the research from behind a camera. That being said, it’s pretty awesome when your work day consists of firing a wooden projectile from a rail gun at 25m/s through a liquid jet stream:
Even more awesome when filmed at 240 frames per second and then slowed down
Though not all of the research we cover is quite so bombastic, it’s no less amazing in its own right. I recently spent some time at SFU’s 4D Labs where we worked the entire day preparing a tiny bottle of liquid – and at the end of it, the researchers weren’t even sure it was going to work. You can imagine our relief and happiness when the solution glowed a bright green as we passed it through a laser beam. Though the applications of this method are still in the early stages, the implications of being able to track and activate a compound with a laser are pretty cool.
Hours and hours of heating, stirring, vortexing, centrifuging, and sonicating justified by a liquid light show.
While this is serious science, there’s still room for some fun! Amir Asadirad, one of the researchers I worked with on that long day, explained that it’s important for them to let off some steam, as working in a lab can be tiring and frustrating when your experiments aren’t working out. “We have to make our own entertainment,” he said as we juggled bits of dry ice in our hands, seeing who could endure the longest before the extreme cold burnt a mark into your palm. Discarding leftover liquid nitrogen is one of Amir’s favourite lab pastimes:
At one point during the shoot, my dry erase marker dried up and Amir revived it by pouring a solution into the marker. He developed it because he too once ran out of ink and was too lazy to go down to the store and buy a new one.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always understand the complicated lab procedures and terminology, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that these researchers aren’t just in this industry to learn for themselves – they are passionate educators and pioneers who are more than willing to share their knowledge in their quest to improve our every day lives and health. And I for one am glad to have a small part in helping document and spread their work.