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Research FuN!

 So Karen Hogan, a biologist and instructor in Penn's Biology department, and I thought we'd play a synthetic biology joke on others in the research team (including Deb Lui, Yasmin Kafai, Mia Shaw and Orkan Telhan).  Because Karen actively devises ways we can introduce this type of biohacking to K-12 learners, we had to come up with something related to how we already use microbes and study learning.  And so, all week Karen and I were playing up these "new" pigment producing E. coli (to learn more about what this is check out our bioLOGO work).  Behind the scenes, I collected some petri dishes and used jello to make them look like agar plates.  I then used pigmented gel frosting to draw bacterial streaks across each dish.  They looked incredibly real!  As the research team was huddled around taking photos and gazing at these realistic plates, Karen and I paused quietly in intrigue.  As the group quieted down, Karen remarked that the "E. coli" on the dishes looked good enough to eat.  That was our cue because we both proceeded to eat the "bacteria and agar."  The group roared in laughter (and probably disgust) at my zombie-like consumption of the material. We TOTALLY played them! The entire group thought we were eating E. coli transformants.  Orkan leveraged the situation (for possible future extortion purposes I assume, LOL) by snapping this photo during it all!  We had a lot of laughs that day.  Now Yasmin makes multiple jello jokes when I see her, HA!  Who said research can't be fun!

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