Friday, July 31, 2009

Assays and Buffers and Gnomes... Oh My!

ETA: To all the folks who were trying to comment: we now allow all comments, not just registered users. Share some gnome names before we narrow it down for a vote later this week!

As Kate has mentioned, LEE has had some roadblocks since its grand opening. While (fortunately) much of what we do here runs smoothly, we are still encountering some funky results. Thus, we dedicate this post to describing the many ways in which we cope, as research assistants, with these roadblocks. Any research project will have its bumps and moments that make you just stop and wonder how on earth that could have happened. Often it’s just a matter of addressing the basic assumptions about your project or methods. This is what we, Kate’s fabulous research assistants, have been doing for the past few weeks by systematically testing every step within our methods. And while we may not, as noted earlier, get our answers within the time frame of a 60 minute TV show - we look just as good pipetting in our white lab coats as any of those television scientists!

Our testing has resulted in a number of exciting breakthroughs - we are quickly eliminating what may cause some of our problems. But as we narrow down the suspect list, we often find whole new challenges to overcome - such as the fun day when after spending a large amount of time on an assay it turned out that one of the assay components was simply defective. This was a particularly frustrating day, but Kate was able to laugh it off as “lab goblins.”

This got us thinking: We need to guard against lab goblins and their mischief. The answer? A lab gnome, of course! Similar to the garden variety, but instead of protecting your house from mischievous beings it protects your lab from everything from quirky kit components to disappearing stir-bars, pens, and other small objects that kleptomaniac lab goblins find irresistible. We were able to quickly acquire our new lab gnome (everyone should keep a spare around the house), but now it needs a name fitting of its job of lab protector. So now, we, the fabulous research assistants, are asking you, the fabulous blog readers, to suggest a name for our gnome! We will take suggestions in the comments, choose our favorites, and put it to a vote in a follow-up post.

Can you name our gnome?


  1. Germinator
    Otto (autoclave)
    Otto Man of Pee A
    Master Pee
    Gnome R Garcy A Pee A

  2. Hmm... of all the posts to comment on, I'll weigh in on the gnome-name! I think you should name him after one of your favorite hormones... preferably a more obscure one...

  3. I like that idea Michelle. Of course I like progesterone and C-peptide as they have been most useful to my research so far. But maybe this Gnome should be Ghrelin? or Ghremlin?

    Of course, these comments are totally unlike what I expected. I thought people would come up with names like Hildegard or Maurice, not puns on pee. But we will choose our voting selections based on what we get here...

    How about EvoGnome? Flores Man? Horgnome?

  4. I've also gotten two suggestions: Mr. Piddle von Body Waste - Piddle for short, and Gene Nome

  5. To all the folks who were trying to comment: we now allow all comments, not just registered users.

  6. You could go for movie references:
    -Really, Really Bad Santa (he looks like he could take out Billy Bob Thornton, seriously)
    –Tim-Tom (after one of Dr. Girlfriend's Murderous Moppets)
    You could go with the gnome references: -Gnomebody
    Keeping with the urine references: -The Piddler
    You could go for the trifecta: -The Peegnome
    Or, don't name him. Just call him "that creepy gnomeless guy that hangs out around the lab."
    When all else fails, throw some bad Google-translated German in there:
    -Urin der Gnome (Urine the Gnome)
    -Gnome von Urin (Gnome of Urine)
    -Ausscheidung der Protector (Excretion the Protector)
    -Nachtw├Ąchter (Night Watchman)



    Name him after Johann Centurius Hoffmannsegg

    That takes care of all the ones that have been sent to me

  7. I like progester-gnome or ghremlin :)

    Anyway, I am starting my own nerdy anthro blog, so feel free to check it out when you get a chance (ie, need to procrastinate). It's:


  9. Bart, I LOVE it!

    I got a few good ones out of it:

    Anaxagoras 'Ferret-bum' Jamussa
    Aristaios 'Weasel-chest' Baraboutis
    Frode 'Skunk-hair' Zaloumi

  10. Bush-ome or bushit