In the lab–the year in review

Ah, classes are finally over. The last two summers I’ve taught a short, intense course in Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology, condensing a semester’s worth of work into a week. It’s a fun course to teach, but exhausting–after teaching, I head back home or to the office to finish last-minute preparation for the next day’s talks and assignments, and by the time that’s done, the nightly student homework is rolling into my email inbox for me to grade and comment on for the next morning. By Friday, I feel like a zombie who hasn’t seen my family in a week.

But, it’s now wrapped up for another year, which gives me a small block of time to navel-gaze and reflect on the past year before diving back into more research (and starting prep for fall’s course, Introduction to Molecular Epidemiology).

First, this has been a Really Good Year. For those interested, we just put out a newsletter detailing all the events in the lab in 2010–3 federal grants received (the most recent one from USDA described here, and others from NIOSH and AHRQ), 3 PhD students graduated, 3 MS students graduated, 13 papers published and 15 conference presentations given. You can probably see why my blogging took a dip. However, all 3 PhD students have jobs, as does one MS student (the other 2 are continuing on to a PhD), so the graduates have also been successful–now just to wrap up all their papers…

This year marks the beginning of the new studies, meaning we’ll be enrolling and testing roughly 3,000 people this year around the state of Iowa, as well as carrying out molecular analysis of another couple thousand S. aureus isolates from the state’s diagnostic labs, and still carrying out some additional sampling on farms. It’s already an exciting (and busy) summer, with more to come in fall. We’re embarking on these studies with some new collaborators, and have some pilot projects coming to an end with a ton of manuscripts currently under review or in draft, so 2011 should hopefully be equally productive. Everything isn’t quite a well-oiled machine yet, but it’s definitely much closer this year than it was a year or two ago.

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