Lab Work Begins!
Stephen and Rachel have started analysing the saliva samples in the lab. It's a complicated process that takes about 2-3 hours to complete.
First we spin the sample tubes in the centrifuge to get as much out of the swabs as possible, then we pipette them in to special plates. After adding different chemicals to the samples in the plate to start chemical reactions, they are then left for a while to incubate before being put in to our plate reader to get the final levels of hormones.
Each plate has 96 wells in it, meaning we can process about 10 participants' data at a time for one of the days they've collected saliva. Each plate also only looks at one of the saliva hormones at a time, meaning each participants' samples have to be analysed twice in two different plates. It's a painstaking and meticulous process, but it will be worth it in the end!