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Published on July 25, 2012, by in Chemistry, Internships, Research.

Chemistry Research, Beckman Software, Beckman CE, WFU Chemistry, High Point University, Wake Forest UniversityWelcome back to the WFU lab! There has been a lot occurring here in the lab and I have been a little behind in getting an update out to everyone. In my last update, I had moved to the Beckman CE instrument where I was working on two different types of tests: (1) Injection Pressure and (2) Voltage. After many runs for each of these two types of test, I had generated a lot of data to analyze. Now, you may ask…how do I analyze a graph and what am I looking for?

Well, to analyze a graph, I use the Beckman software program on the computer attached to the instrument, generate a graph from the data acquired by the detector, then set the axis parameters. After all of that, I have a clear graph to begin looking for consistent peaks showing up in each run. For the injection pressure tests, the response would increase as pressure increases, thus making the specific response peak increase in intensity (y-axis). My data and graphs demonstrated this with some background noise interfering with the resolution of the graph. For the voltage tests, the response will appear in a shorter amount of time as the voltage increases, thus the peak should appear earlier or later in time (x-axis). 

Now that I have lots of data and some conclusions, it was time to talk with Dr. Colyer. We met and set out a plan for moving forward! First, I altered my injection pressure test by varying the time and leaving the pressure constant to provide a more accurate analysis via the graphs. Second, she challenged me to try a method called – on-column labeling. I was using pre-column labeling where the dye and fructose was injected thus mixing with the buffer in the capillary. With on-column labeling, the dye is pre-mixed with the buffer in the capillary, and then the fructose is injected by itself.

Carl Sagan once stated, “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” This quote states exactly the purpose of research…to find something incredible that has yet to be discovered. We may not know how to get there, but by trying, we hope to discover that incredible thing!