Monday, August 12, 2013

That girl is on fire!

This is what happens when your hair catches on fire. your fellow lab mates photoshop your hair on fire.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


OK, I've been wondering if I should post anything related to this. And I have decided that I simply can't resist. Afterall, the idea of this blog is to tell people about "Life in a virology lab", right?
Well, about two days ago, I walked into our tissue culture area to check the progress on the egg innoculations. My group was amplifying some of our viral stocks and they were using eggs to that end. Since I have not handled that many eggs in my life (no double interpretations please, read it literally!), I wanted to see it one more time. When I was half way to our lab's cubicule, I smelled the characteristic and typical stench of burning human hair. This triggered an immediate subconscious tingle up my spine. Was my lab area in fire? I walked quickly down the corridor and reached our cubicle, only to discover a room full of smoke and a bunch of relatively silent and shocked students who were still trying to know how to react to what had just happened. Some were giggly, some were blowing air with sheets of paper, some were simply still in shock.
Apparently, one of my undergraduates got a bit too close to the candle we use to supply the wax that is used to seal the eggs after they are innoculated. She has a particularly long and luscious hair. But its length is perhaps a bit longer than recommended for lab work. So, as she relaxed against the counter where the candle had been strategically placed, her hair caught fire. Fortunately, one of our undergrads had the good sense of immediately grab her hair, pull it with his hands, and deprive it from the air it needed to continue burning. I didn't witness any of  this. But by the smoke that had been left in the room (the door had already been open for a few minutes and my students were venting air in hopes of making it less smoky inside), I'd say they probably saw flames going up her head.
On the down side, I'll have to file a report about this incident and I hope this won't have negative consequences for our lab. On the up side, .....well, perhaps there's no much to claim on that end, other that at least she was not hurt (although she may need to change her hairstyle for a while). Bottom line, in a virology lab is full of surprises (some of which you wish never to experience!).