Monday, November 1, 2010

Sorry I haven't been updating recently!

I've been bogged down with end-of-the-semester-itis + I have to study for finals.

In studying for genetics I was faced with this question, that I thought was amusing:

6. The Minister of Finance, Bill English, is seeking to clone the gene for a novel
protein called diptin, which has recently been discovered as a major component
of the eggs of a new species of butterfl y, Taxpayer subsidii, found fl ying wild in
his historic family residence in the wilds of Southland. The diptin protein causes
those who consume it to lose all interest in investing the property market and to
save all their spare cash in long-term deposits. Mr English wishes to express large
quantities of the protein in transgenic plants so that Dr Bollard can put it in the
water supplies of key suburbs in the wealthy regions of Auckland and Wellington.
You are told that diptin protein binds tightly to another protein called perkin,
which has been purifi ed from fi lters in the air conditioning units of the beehive. A
good way to clone the diptin gene would be to:
1. Construct a genomic library from Taxpayer subsidii and screen the library
by colony hybridization using an oligonucleotide designed from the known
protein sequence of perkin.
2. Construct a cDNA library from mRNA isolated from eggs of Taxpayer
subsidii, and screen the library by colony hybridization using the gene for
perkin as a probe.
3. Purify the diptin protein using a perkin column, sequence the protein and
design an oligonucleotide probe, and use the probe in a Southern blot
against genomic DNA isolated from Taxpayer subsidii
4. Construct a cDNA expression library from mRNA isolated from eggs of
Taxpayer subsidii, and screen it using antibodies prepared against perkin.
5. Purify the diptin protein using a perkin column, inject the purifi ed protein
into rabbits to produce antibodies, and use these to screen a cDNA
expression library made from mRNA isolated from eggs of Taxpayer

..just goes to show that professors can, and will, in fact make questions out of anything haha

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Genetics lab

Only in New Zealand would one stumble upon a genetics lab with a kiwifruit plasmid cloned into E. Coli!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The do's and don'ts that I've learned so far...

  • Go to the museum
  • Ask questions, generally people will have no problem answering them
  • Learn some Moari words...Kia ora!
  • Walk around Symonds St. With ‘Team Jacob’ written on your face (it was yesterday’s immunity); like so:
  • Call ‘sprinkles’, ‘hundreds and thousands’
  • Tell Bush jokes – it gives you a common ground to build upon.
  • Listen to some local music (Tangaroa by Tiki Taane)
  • Buy an umbrella...actually, buy rains here every day.
  • Watch ‘Boy’ and try to imitate the Kiwi accent
  • Start spelling ‘color and humor’ as ‘colour and humour’
  • Go to class and pass them


  • Say you love eating kiwis...people will think you’re a cannibal. Specify them as ‘kiwifruit’
  • Start telling NZ jokes before you make friends that understand your humour – you might offend people
  • Drive on the left hand side of the road
  • Do anything illegal, and get caught
  • Try to sue anyone, because you can’t sue in NZ
  • Get too comfortable...go exploring as often as you can
  • Wear white nail polish – people will think you put ‘twink’ on your nails. But do start calling white-out, twink
  • Leave your room without your camera and an umbrella (did I mention how rainy it is here?)
  • Eat Vegemite or its equally bitter half-sister, Marmite. It’s an acquired taste, and you will not acquire it in the short time you are in NZ

And I'll leave you to ponder about my next blog post...I will be!- Khushbu

(That is today's immunity by the way, and I have to do it singing the Eye of the Tiger haha)

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Did Grafton have a swine flu outbreak?"

Hi again!

...And I know you're all interested in knowing if, indeed there is an outbreak in my hall. Unfortunately its just a building-wide game of Assassins, where you 'kill' your target by putting a sticker on them, and every day of the week there is a different 'immunity' from being killed. Yesterday the immunity was to cover your nose and people went all out so not to die on the first day - scarves, masquerade masks, numerous surgical masks (why people though there was a epidemic going on in the building), fake beards, ties, you name it! Today's immunity, by the way, is doing Micheal Jackson's Thriller walk. So living here has been incredibly funny, and paranoia-filled at the same time. I'm not dead yet and I'm trying to keep it that way until after I kill my target. Muhaha.

So I got asked a question today that I've been getting asked all the time: Why New Zealand?
I suppose the answer is simple - If I didn't go to New Zealand to study abroad, I would have never came to this region of the world. Its one of the last places of the world to be 'found' by Europeans and colonized, so the culture is very much alive here; the history isn't buried in ruins and history textbooks, and I really like that. And besides, I've already been to Europe, Asia and South America. There were of course other factors in me coming to NZ - making sure my credits would transfer over, if it was safe, the currency exchange rate etc, but mostly, I wanted to go somewhere new and exciting, and here I am! =)

More to come soon,

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Zealand, two months in.

Hey there!

I'm Khushbu, just your typical senior year Psychology major, Bio and Chem double minor SBU student...except I've been in Auckland, New Zealand for about 2 months now. I am currently attending Auckland University, in the biggest city in New Zealand. Auckland, the 'City of Sails', is a really diverse - the people, the culture, the things to see and do, it almost reminds me of NYC. Raised in Brooklyn my entire life, I can definitely say the the pace of the city is slower here though, and MUCH slower in the rest of the country. Its true what they say about NZ - the sheep really do out number the people living here!

And you don't need to be here 2 months to figure that can't go 20 minutes outside the city without seeing sheep or cows.

I currently live in one of the many subherbs of this super-city, in Grafton, in a dorm building. The interesting thing about Grafton Hall is that you don't need to be an Auckland Uni student to live fact, my roommate goes to a completely different university thats nearby. I love get to meet so many different people this way. And for the first time in my college career, I'm living corrider style! Its so weird because guys and girls live on the same floor and share the same toilets and showers! This hall is also catered, so you don't have to worry about grocery shopping or making your own meals (although there is a kitchen if you want to use it). I'd highly reccomend other people to live in a catered hall...its less to worry about!

Although I'm a psych student, I'm taking some general education classes that are really interesting (and fulfill some DECS/Skills) - Sociology of Auckland, Anthropology of the Pacific Peoples, History of Sex in Europe and America and I'm also taking a Genetics class. I really enjoy my athro and soc classes because every week I learn about the history and practices of where I am right just wouldn't be the same learning the same things from a textbook in Stony Brook without being emerged in it. If you're going to study abroad take some similar classes - if nothing else, if you learn about the city you're in, you won't get lost so easily!

The rest of my time not spend in class has been amazing as well...I've been skiing (we just entered spring in the southern hemisphere) and to geo-thermal parks and even petted a sheep or two amongst other things. I haven't seen a kiwi bird yet though, NZ's national animal is actually endangered. Over our mid-semester break I went to Sydney (only a 3 hr flight away) and to Surfer's Paradise (where I learned to surf!). Flights in NZ are reallyyy cheap and it only takes an hour or so to get to most other cities domestically. The flight to NZ from NY was another matter altogether though! It took me 2 days with a 12 hour layover in LA to get to Auckland. It didn't take me too long to get over the jet-lag though, as I slept on the entire flight from LA!

Otherwise, my study abroad experience thus far has been a fantastic slurry of meeting new people, learning new things and having daily adventures! Want to study abroad? I would say do it!

'Til next time,