An undergrad I supervised on a directed research project a few years ago recently sent me a stuffed giant microbe. They don't make one for the bug I work on so he sent me the Flesh Eating Strep bug, which is the most closely related one that they make. Since Great Science Nerds think alike I was already aware of this company and had previously given a Giant Microbe to My Naked Coworker as she bolted out of town a few months ago - since she was going out to the west coast to work on gonorrhea I gave her the Clap. Now I can tell everyone I gave my Naked Coworker the Clap, which is something I had always wanted to say but had never actually wanted to do. Anyways the gift from my former undergrad was a nice token of appreciation and made me feel squishy good all over which is always great, plus I finally got a Giant Microbe for myself.
Speaking of giant microbes, the Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Conference is being hosted here at the University of Minnesota this weekend which the chair of my committee organized so I felt obligated to attend and present a poster of my recent work. Plus, a post-doc in my lab presented early this morning and was preceeded by two former post-docs of the lab I'm going to in Seattle, so I had even more motivation to go so I could introduce myself to my future colleagues and see what everyone had to say. It was for the most part a good show. The post-doc from my lab said at the beginning of his talk, which was about the bug we work on (Enterococcus faecalis): "you may not know much about Enterococcus faecalis but it certainly knows you." I thought that was pretty funny since Enterococcus faecalis is a poop-bacteria. As he was talking I was thinking Poop! Bacteria! Poop! Bacteria! My advisor has actually been known to show a picture of his own colon on occasion when introducing our beloved poop bacteria at national conferences.