A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Aldrin Gomes decided to specialize in the biochemical differences between normal and diseased hearts in his graduate studies at the University of the West Indies. A significant portion of his research utilized protein separation and purification techniques, making SDS-PAGE electrophoresis and protein blotting an essential tool in most of his experiments. But in a country where resources are scarce, unrelenting heat is destructive to sensitive biological materials, and slow delivery times are common for product orders, Gomes and his colleagues began to analyze the electrophoretic workflow to determine how to make the process as efficient as possible. “Because we performed a lot of electrophoresis, we published some articles whereby we looked at how we could standardize things to improve resolution in our results,” says Gomes. “We heavily researched aliquoting methods, sample buffers (methods for making them and determining actual shelf lives), whether or not buffers can be reused — even minor factors such as gel pouring techniques and plate thickness.”
Since Gomes “grew up,” scientifically speaking, in an environment where experiments must be planned far in advance and resources cannot be wasted, he cultivated the habit of designing experiments and procedures that made the best possible use of tools and time while ensuring optimal results. This followed him through his graduate work and his subsequent career, first as a research associate, then in his current role as assistant professor in the Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior department in the College of Biological Sciences, and Physiology and Membrane Biology department in the School of Medicine at UC Davis.