Atlanta conference posts soon, I promise...

It's been a busy 3 days here in Atlanta. My talk Tuesday was well-received, I have lots of new ideas for future projects, and I'll have posts on the conference itself starting, hopefully, this afternoon (last night was family time, so no posting). In the meantime, I'm writing up the manuscript for the study I presented and I thought I'd ask for some input with one small portion.

The study itself is a sampling of swine for bacterial carriage. On the first farm we headed out to (and by "we" I, of course, mean my trusty graduate student), we only had on hand as many swabs as we were going to use--no extras. Swine aren't always very cooperative, and one swab ended up getting contaminated .

So, how would you write this up? Of course in the end I'll have to go with something dry, academic and boring, but I'm sure y'all can come up with something much more creative...


More like this

I see Janet has a post series going on family + academic career. (Part 1; Part 2). I've written a bit on my own experience at the old blog (and I do mean "a bit;" it's much more of a Cliff notes version of events than Janet's), so I'm re-posting it here for another view from the trenches, so to…
As I've mentioned, this has been a busy year. In the span of 3 months, 3 small grants were funded; enough to keep me busy for the next year. Though my training prior to arriving here was almost exclusively in bench microbiology (mostly molecular microbiology/molecular epidemiology), I knew when…
...I was suffering the worst pain I'd ever experienced. I arrived at the hospital a bit before 1AM, and spent the next four hours or so walking around in agony. By 5AM, I decided I was ready for some of the good drugs, but the nurse informed me it was too late--time for the real fun to start. My…
First of all, in response to reader suggestion, I've changed the names of the categories. People rightly felt "domestic economy" and "household economy" were too confusing, and reader Apple Jack Creek suggested we change "domestic economy" to "domestic infrastructure." Claire also suggested that…

If you can distinguish a "contaminated" swab from one that has merely been applied to a pig; that is impressive. Seriously, though, if you are asking a question- I don't see enough info for me to formulate a suggestion.

I'm guessing you aren't at the library conference at Georgia Tech that my wife is at...

Several questions:

1. Which end of the swine are you taking samples from?
2. What sort of bacteria are you culturing, anerobic? coliforms? etc.
3. Are you doing quantitative measurements?
4. Are you collecting swabs of the same animal over time?
5. Are you collecting environmental samples for comparision?
6. Are you doing this for ecology study or for exploring pathogenic bacteria carriage or for antibiotic resistance surveillance?

There is not a lot of information for suggestions. I did some of this before for viruses from the tail end. Interesting outcomes.

By Viral Pharm (not verified) on 20 Mar 2008 #permalink

Nope, not at the library conference.

"Contaminated" as in "touched surfaces other than the pig's nose." The pig jerked and knocked the swab out of said grad student's hand, and it fell on the ground, making it unusable. (Even if we had isolated the bacterium we were looking for from the swab, we wouldn't know if it had come from the pig or the floor).


Don't overthink! I was just looking for some cute quips rather than actual academic prose, but to answer your questions:

1) I just mentioned this in the previous comment, but they're nasal swabs.


3) Nope. There's an enrichment step, so just presence or absence.

4) Not for this study. Later, hopefully.

5) Not for this study. Later, hopefully.

6) The latter two.

Cute quips:

1.How many cigarettes do they smoke a day?
2.Are they suffering from bird flu infection?
3.How often do they go for a swim at the local pool?

These are lines surely give you the attention of the press. You mean you do not encourage your grad students to think? I am surprised given the highly academic and excellent discussion you have at your site. Perhaps you don't want to give out too much information due to concerns on competition.

By Viral Pharm (not verified) on 20 Mar 2008 #permalink

"one pig was decidedly uncooperative and outwitted the grad student, contaminating the swab."

"One pig, unclear on the concept, helpfully tried to swab the floor."

"One pig, obviously insulted by the concept, ..."

"One pig, concerned about the cleanliness of the swab, rejected it."

Stick with me, I've got a million of them ... god, I kill myself. Hat tip to nico.

Don't overthink! I was just looking for some cute quips rather than actual academic prose

How about, "I was just looking to earn my keep, not trying to live up to standards of academic excellence or practical utility"?

By Mother Pig (not verified) on 20 Mar 2008 #permalink

One pig objected to having the silly looking grad student pick his nose since that pig prefers Kleenex extra soft tissues.

One pig decided that the muck that it currently resides in would be much more interesting to study, thereby refusing the swab.

One pig decided it was time for a little payback so it applied some Pig Ninja moves.

By Ninja pig (not verified) on 20 Mar 2008 #permalink

Student swiftly swabbing swine snouts seeking samples sustained surprise soil specimen.

How about "Grad student goes for poke in a pig, ends up with pig in a poke".

swab falls on the dirt.
equivocal results loom.
bug from pig or ground?

I think that's 5-7-5. You can't go wrong with Haiku.

By boomer0127 (not verified) on 20 Mar 2008 #permalink

Fine idea, boomer. Here's one in the cooler style (albeit spell-checked):

Infects all, kills all?
No? Swab is pointless. Germ is

By ElkMountainMan (not verified) on 21 Mar 2008 #permalink