Wednesday, September 2, 2009


My lab collaborates regularly with another lab located at an institution near by. This lab could do some nice clinical work, but unfortunately a dumb fucking donkey (DFD) of a “post-doc” works there. DFD is a combative and uniformed researcher who started working in this lab over 10 years ago. In that time, DFD managed to chase off every decent post-doc and grad student that attempted to enter the lab. The post-docs left because DFD steals ideas and presents them to the PI as his or her own and the grad. students left because they don’t enjoy getting yelled at and treated like idiots. From all accounts the PI isn’t aware of any of this and on the contrary, thinks DFD is an asset to the lab.

Anyway, I had a run-in with DFD when I presented at our last “group” meeting. Fortunately, I knew it was going to happen because at the previous group meeting, DFD went on a 10-minute tirade about how a particular protein doesn’t bind a substrate even though everyone else reports that the interaction does happen. You see, DFD can’t replicate this interaction, therefore the interaction can't possibly occur. After this meeting, I discussed this conversation with Magnum, PI as we both know this interaction does occur. In fact, the apparent KD for this interaction is in the nM range. We concur that DFD is in fact a DFD.

Fast forward to a month later. I am presenting my data, which includes the previously mentioned protein binding nicely to the previously mentioned substrate. DFD goes in for the kill and repeats the tirade from the previous meeting. I let DFD speak because I am prepared with no less than 10 different accounts from multiple labs, demonstrating that this protein binds to this substrate, which I subsequently share with everyone in the room. The last piece of evidence I bring up is the crystal structure showing the very same protein binding to the very same substrate. DFD just stares and eventually replies, “Oh.” I move on with the rest of my talk.


AA's BH said...

Stuck it to 'em but good. DFDs are never nice to encounter, all the more reason for basking in the opportunity to take them down a peg or two. Well done.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...


Someone needs to tell the PI, though... it sounds like this DFD is potentially ruining other careers, which is hardly fair.

p.s. did you mean uniformed, or uninformed? If the former, what kind of uniform?!

microbiologist xx said...

AA's BH - Thanks! I usually don't make it a point to take someone down a peg or two for making a suggestion that wrong or asking an obvious question. It's not really my style, but DFD deserved it. I've seen the way s/he behaves in other seminars and it's disgusting. You know the type...always going out of their way to make someone look stupid or feel stupid, just so they can feel smart.

Cath - I agree that someone needs to inform the PI. It's really hard for me to believe that a previous post-doc hasn't said anything before, which makes me think that the PI might be choosing to believe this person. I hope not, but I really have no idea.

Oh, and I meant uninformed. LOL!
If DFD did wear a uniform though, it would have to be a flashy uniform for someone with no power. Like maybe the Grand Marshall of Disney Land. :)

chall said...

that's the best time. the "oh" stupid.

I wish I get a time like that before soon... i have a similar situation...

EcoGeoFemme said...

I LOVE that you named this person Dumb Fucking Donkey. Love it.

microbiologist xx said...

chall - yeah, it works out pretty well when you can anticipate what's about to come. ;)

EGF - I just couldn't resist. It's almost as if they were begging me to name them DFD.