Update: There are/were TWO Abbie Smith’s at OU (which would be a good name for a band, BTW). I met the Exercise Physiologist Abbie Smith in 2007, and I follow the blog of the brunette Abbie Smith, ERV. That explains a LOT of things that were bugging me, like hair color and research fields. Perhaps I should just say “I heart ERV”, because she (brunette Abbie) is awesome.
I met Abbie Smith at University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK back in 2007. She was a young grad student in the Kerksick lab* and I was there to help them kick-start a molecular biology/real-time PCR program for their work in exercise physiology. She impressed me then, and she impresses me now. The fact that she’s taken up virology, science advocacy, and blogging is icing on the cake. Her blog is here, called ERV. I highly recommend you check it out. She has a quirky, dry humor that I love and her passion for her topic shows through her writing.
Here she is, recently debating Dr. Steve Kern on creationism being taught in the public schools at Oklahoma City Community College:
You have to love the energy, the enthusiasm, and the down-to-earth discussion of why creationism/evolution discussion matters.
*As an aside, Chad Kerksick was recently the subject of a news report by the Huffington Post on his use of grad students as medical guinea pigs. As I recall, many of the grad students submitted “muscle cores”, which are small tubular chunks of muscle tissue removed from the thigh using a device very similar to a large-bore syringe needle. I’m sure it’s quite unpleasant and leaves some bruising, but
I’m not sure I understand how that was a violation of an ethical code (UPDATE: more in separate post!). Researchers are often used for control samples. For example, I submitted 40 mL of blood almost every week for months as a control sample in immune profiling. The con was it made me a little woozy for a while and I hate needles. The plus was a small donor fee ($40) and the fact that I now know more about my immune profile (I walk around with a subclinical monocytosis), I could detect when I was about to get sick, and it helped out the progress of our study. I don’t know enough about Chad’s situation to condemn or condone, but he was a very nice guy in my interactions with him.