UQ Research!

Cristina Vaca Brisbane, Australia


June 29, 2017
By Cristina Vaca, STEM Summer Research - Brisbane, Australia

Petting kangaroos and koalas every day didn't last long as we were reminded by Peter Adams, we are here to do research, and research we will! Our second week here we visited the University of Queensland (UQ) campus, and all I can say is that it is beautiful! I'm now into the third week of my research (sorry I haven't updated this blog in a while, I've been in the lab 9-5) and I'm incredibly impressed with the facilities and university overall.

I work in Chemistry Building 68 as part of the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences. My supervising professor gave me a tour the first day and they even blow all of their own glassware!! Each of us on the program is working under a different professor and conducting different research. My project is on natural product isolation from Australian desert plants. I've been fractioning samples from two plants Atriplex holocarpa and Tecticornia tenuis. I'm using column chromatography and TLC to separate the compounds and then running the fractions through NMR. Our next step is to put the samples through GC-MS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectroscopy), and I'm excited to get trained on the machinery tomorrow!

In addition to research, I had a great weekend. Half our group went to Sydney, but those of us who stayed in Brisbane took the weekend to explore the city more. We biked along the river to New Farm and got smoothies at a farmers market. We took the citycat (small ferry part of the public transport system) back from New Farm and walked through the Brisbane Botanical Gardens and went shopping on Queen's Street. That night we checked out Eat Street, which was recommended to us by our uber driver the night before. It's by far the coolest place I've been since in Brisbane! Picture a food truck expo crossed with a music festival. We tried lots of food (including cronuts!) and listened to live music. On Sunday we kayaked along the river and made ourselves brunch in our apartment.

This weekend we're going to a rugby game at Suncorp Stadium! 

Cristina VacaCristina is a student at the University of Pennsylvania and is blogging from her summer abroad on the STEM Summer Research - Brisbane program, in Brisbane, Australia