Monday, December 15, 2008

Captain Obvious Saves Lab Meeting

In my current lab (one week to go) our group meeting is a weekly event, where a lab member presents their data and a paper. Typically, the paper centers around our favorite bacterium and is sent around to other lab members no later than two days prior to the meeting.
Captain Obvious (CO) led the most recent lab meeting. If the fact that CO was giving the meeting was not enough to tell me that the meeting was going to be hellish, the email alerting us to the "lab meeting paper" confirmed what was in store.
Obviously the point of the lab meeting paper email is to alert everyone to the paper choice. Usually the body of the email ranges from no text to a sentence fragment, unless you are Capt. O. CO (whose time in the lab spans many lab meetings and emails) sends us an email with a rather detailed explanation of why he is choosing multiple papers followed by bullet points of what his lab meeting will encompass. My eyes nearly rolled out of my sockets upon seeing the volume of text. A quick read confirmed that indeed, lab meeting would suck out loud.

The lab meeting went as follows.
  1. Lab meeting paper preamble explaining why instead of choosing a timely paper from our field, he chose to present data from multiple papers, the most recent of which was published in 2007.
  2. The history of the organism our lab studies. During this time CO looks proud at the information he has imparted on us silly individuals who know nothing about the organism we study. (I'm already repressing the urge to sigh loudly at this point.)
  3. The paper(s) presentation, consisting of a list of strain-typing techniques, a map and dendogram. Again, good thing he pointed out all that old information that we didn't already know about. (I'm shifting in my seat and starting to sigh, but not in a loud and prolonged way.)
  4. The presentation of Capt. O's data.
    I assume this was supposed to include results from two odd strains in comparison to results obtained from prototypical strains. Unfortunately, I am only aware of CO pointing out information regarding the other strains.
  5. Western blots...for what purpose, I'm not sure. One of the blots featured protein taken from cells that were in lag phase for about 5hrs. I'm not sure how he compared these samples to samples taken from exponential or stationary phase from other growth curves because I got up and left since "I needed to stop my gel."
  6. Lab meeting eventually ends. Fortunately the room was reserved and people needed us to get out so that they could use it. This prevented any outburst from me.
And that completes that tale of my last lab meeting as a member of graduate school lab.


Dr. A said...

Did CO magically leave my PhD lab and end up working with you??????

In meetings like this, I used to take notes of the most ridiculous phrases used by my CO so that I could share them with Dr. J later. It made me look interested while keeping me awake.

Thomas Joseph said...

When I meet with my support staff I make it a point to keep things under 30 minutes if at all possible. I like to meet weekly, but it ends up typically being every other week, cause I HATE MEETINGS.

Besides, they are well aware that if the lab is about to burn down, or if they have a problem, or if they make a discovery which will make us all famous and rich ... that they can come to my office.

Anonymous said...

*Giggles* as awful as it is to endure....these events make for great laughs over beers. So 'Cheers' to you MicroXX, and good luck with the bozo sitting a bay away (hopefully not right next to afraid he will unexpectedly die by chloroform ingestion if he gets too close)...

PhizzleDizzle said...

what an awesome farewell meeting!!! (not).

congratulations on finishing your time in PhD Lab! :)

Unbalanced Reaction said...

Yay for last group meetings (and for booked rooms)!!