July 15, 2007

Can you say obvious?

So Iím spending the morning screwing around. Iím at panera, having coffee and a bagel, mainly to use the internet, since I donít have any at my apartment here in Springfield. I do have it at work, but somehow I donít think they really appreciate me bumming around on facebook while I should be working. Plus, I donít really spend all that much time in my office. (yes, I do actually have my own office with a door, etc. )

So I like what Iím doing this summer, its interesting. Iím not really going to go into right now though, I just donít feel like writing that much. But a few of the things that have happened here recently have been slightly amusing (at least to me), so I thought Iíd go with that for right now.

So I work in the lab animal department of the SIU school of medicine in Springfield. Iím a veterinary intern, and I work with the clinical vet here. We check on the animals that are used in experiments, and mainly watch over what the investigators are doing to make sure theyíre following the guidelines set out for the humane use of animals, etc. We donít deal with the PIs (primary investigators) too much though, mainly their researchers and PhD students.

One of these students is really special. I am doing a research study about ammonia levels in mice cages (long story, not worth explaining). A few of the cages I was using to measure levels in were from this studentís lab. Before my study started, an e-mail went out informing all of these people what would be happening, and to please let me know if they were going to be using any specific animals over the next few weeks, so I could avoid those cages. Of course I got no responses.

Last week I was in the animal room and I see that two of the cages Iím using no longer have tops on them. This is a problem, since my experiment measures levels of topped cages. The student is in there, sheíd been present a number of times when I was there, and knew what I was doing. I asked her about the cages and she informs me that those mice are now in an experiment of hers. At this point I only have a few more days of data points to take, so I ask her if I can put tops back on and continue.

She looks confused. (She looks like that a lot.) She asks what Iím doing. After explaining again, and referencing the e-mail (ďOh yeah, that e-mailĒ) she decides its okay for me to put tops back on.

So this has been a lot of background info for one little punch line, but I think the stupidity is worth it. Finally she asks me ďWell how do I know which cages are in the study?Ē
To this I reply ďWell they are the cages with the teal cards on the front that say ĎAmmonia StudyíĒ ďOh, okayĒ And the teal cards are large, and obvious, and mentioned in the e-mail.

Brilliant, right? This is a PhD student, I have no idea how she got her other degrees considering that she canít add 1.5 and 1.5 (watched that happen). She also canít remember the order in which sheís supposed to gown in and out of the room. (she asked me the order after sheíd been working in there for two weeks, Iím not sure what she was doing before.) So next time youíre reading something on GH research, be very skeptical, because its possible it was written by someone who got the info from a fairy she saw.

Posted by allison at July 15, 2007 9:02 AM

I experienced very similar things when I worked as a system and network admin at CSL (Coordinated Science Lab) at UofI. Some masters and PHD students in computer engineering have a surprisingly low amount of knowledge when actually dealing with a computer.

Posted by: dave at July 15, 2007 7:09 PM
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