In two weeks I will be moving out from Fabys. The apartment looks like it just got hit by a tornado. So, I have been organizing my properties (again) and I saw my thesis....no one here knows how much trouble I went through to get this.
Anyway, the thesis is titled Analytical Method Development for the Cleaning Effectivenes of Residual Peanut Protein on Stainless Steel in Particular Ara h1. The abstract reads.... (if you dont plan to fall asleep, skip the next paragraph)
The peanut allergen, Ara h1, can potentially become part of a different food system due to cross contamination from processing with campaigned equipments. To prevent cross-contamination, studies must be completed that demonstrate the effectiveness of standardized cleaning procedures for removing the allergen from product contact surfaces. In the pharmaceutical industry, cleaning validation consists of surface residual sampling, recovery and detection of the recovered material. Based upon this model, a sampling method that recovers Ara h1 from a stainless steel surface; and an assay that is capable of selectively detecting and semi-quantifying the recovered Ara h1 allergen were developed. These analytical techniques were able to recover up to 78-99% of peanut proteins and to detect the recovered Ara h1 protein at levels of 80-122 nanograms.
I took about a year to develop my sampling and recovery procedures, smooth and steady. The detection and quantification was a bizarre story. Spring 2003, I decided to graduate by hook or by crook so that I could come to HK for DTS. I implemented my detection scheme and ran experiments after experiments that entire summer with no substantial result. My research director never saw a protein behaving like that on the detection instrument. My other research committee member were basically speechless. YWAM HK called and asked if I was still interested in their Performing Arts DTS. I was never interested in Performing Arts and I wasnt able to leave my project anyway. Later they cancelled the school because almost no one wanted to go (afraid of SARS). So I applied for January school instead.
October came, we decided to collect enough data for our bizzarre findings and moved on to a new alternate scheme, not as glamorous, but with other advantages. Besides, I could actually run the method in my sleep because I did it so much before I came on to the grad school and the only thing practical to do so that I could graduate by December. Things seemed to go well until one day in the middle of November I had reasons to suspect my water system was contaminated. If that were true, the bottomline was, I had no results. Water purity was critical for my aim to establish nanogramic detection limit for contaminants. Imagine my fright!
However, in two weeks we found out the water was fine. Something else was interfering with my controls and we got it fixed. By then, it wasnt realistic anymore to graduate in December, I had to apply for May graduation. So, after editing my thesis for about 10 times, I was scheduled to deliver an oral defense. Much to my chagrin, just when everything was set, I received a notice from YWAM HK that they were moving the DTS a week earlier than it was scheduled.(STUPID YWAM HK!!!) So I had to cut down on my breathing and rescheduled my final oral exam two days before I left NE. I didnt have enough time to do much in one and a quarter day...I didnt have much time to think I was leaving NE for good. I thought perhaps one day, when I am not busy anymore, I will come back to NE and say goodbye properly. More than 2 years had gone by and I havent done that.
Anyway, the point of my post is actually that being a missionary is much more fun than being a scientist.