What's in the Fridge?
Winter seemed a particularly fitting time to survey the
contents kept cold in refrigerators across the Homewood
campus. In our visits to labs, dorm rooms, and eateries, we
hoped to find more than the ubiquitous carton of milk. We
By Sue De
Photos by Will
Coral and fish need food to grow, so
Gary Ostrander stocks plenty of brine shrimp eggs (blue
can) and fish food (red canisters) in the refrigerator of
his Macaulay Hall #215 lab. Ostrander gathers and grows
coral (some with cancerous tumors, others without) from
waterways around the world, then looks for differences in
gene and protein expression levels between the two. The
microcentrifuge tubes on the second shelf (bright pink and
orange holders) contain coral DNA and retino-blastoma
genetic material from the medaka (a small fish). The
black-capped tubes in the doorway hold glycolipids
extracted from rainbow trout and English sole —
useful to Ostrander and his students and colleagues in
their quest to better understand the biological mechanisms
of cancer in all species.
Antibodies in the Deep Freeze
"There are samples in here from 1992," says research
assistant Tim Hoen, as he lifts trays of antibodies from an
insulated tank, or "dewar." Thanks to liquid nitrogen, the
dewar keeps things at a frigid -200 Celsius. Hoen works
professor Richard Cone, whose lab in Jenkins Hall is
investigating antibodies against "sperm and germs." Their
goal: to develop microbicides that prevent pregnancy and
protect against sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS and
herpes. Explains Hoen, "Antibodies are so stable that if
you keep them cold you can keep them for decades."
A Sticky Situation
Athletic tape in the chiller? "It keeps it fresh, which
helps with adhesion," explains Brad Mountcastle, one of
three full-time athletic trainers who provide injury
assessment and rehabilitation to Homewood's 700 varsity
athletes at the
Newton H. White Athletic Center. Trainers use the tape
for bracing and supporting injured ankles and other sports
casualties, while the cups of frozen water (top) are
perfect for ice massages — commonly used in treating
knee and shin injuries.
Freshman roommates Chloe Thurston and Leila Lackey "are
both into the whole health food thing," says Thurston.
Their larder was low the day we visited (witness the
scraped-clean container of organic peanut butter), though
they were well stocked with tuna, chicken, and soy milk.
Other favorites normally on hand: okra, asparagus, and
frozen Indian dinners.
Refrigerators had not yet come on the scene in the early
1800s, when Charles Carroll Jr. and his family resided in
Homewood House, the historic home that today sits next to
the Milton S.
Eisenhower Library on campus. To keep white wine
chilled at tableside, the family would have used a
tin-lined wine cellarette (with ice), like the mahogany one
above, ca. 1800.
Ain't the Beer Cold!
The walk-in fridge at the
holds beer used for stocking the main bar and for big
parties (wedding receptions, bar mitzvahs). The champagne
is popped for Sunday brunch. The club's most popular brews:
Heineken and Budweiser.
Water from the Dismal Swamp in Virginia is rich with
natural organic matter (NOM) — ideal for Charles
O'Melia and his Geography and
Environmental Engineering students in their quest to
develop more effective means for filtering drinking water.
If they can purify the murky swamp water (laden with
decaying plant and animal life), then they can filter
anything, says grad student Rodrigue Spinette with a laugh.
Refrigeration is necessary to prevent the organic matter
from decomposing too quickly. Top: Sediment core samples
taken from Maryland's waterways await study by professor
Grace Brush (see Stories from the
Sediment for more on her work).
Return to February 2004 Table