Day 3

Day three was busy- it was time to sample the duckpond, and some of Norman’s finest compost! We repeated the same set of experiments for both sites that had been done the day before with the Norman landfill.

Progress was quick, and after leaving, we prepared plates for the molecular work for the day to come!


Day 2- Student’s Reactions

Jeremiah White

Today was the first day of fieldwork, an adventure out to the Norman Landfill to gather leachate samples.  Samples were taken from five different well sites at different locations on the landfill and the surrounding area.  The goal was to gather samples of microbes from leachate to bring back to OU for microbial study.  Liquid was pumped at same depths along water table at locations and collected in specific containers and filters.  After the landfill fieldwork as award of sustenance was enjoyed a tasty local BBQ eatery!  The second half of the day was spent in the OU lab inoculating the leachate samples into different media, made yesterday.  Aliquots of the samples were taken and added to specific types of media to gauge population count, identify type of respiration and trophic level, microbial function in leachate environment, and isolation of microbes in the leachate samples.  It will be stimulating to see the microbes soon discovered, what roles are played in leachate environment, and the array of experimental methods used in the process!  Kudos to Dr. Stevenson, Blake Stamps, and Aaron!

Charlie Ung

This morning, our research group was picked up by Dr. Stevenson in his van and drove all the way to the Norman Police Department located on the landfill. We began extracting leachate from a well by using a pump machine. We learned how to take samples and how to filter them out of the liquid waste.  After learning how to take samples, out group was then divided into two groups to take samples of the next four wells. It whole process was fun as we were working together and at the same time being social with one another. After the long day out at the field, we then went out to eat lunch, which was fun as we were hanging out and resting. After eating, we went straight to lab and started creating colonies by putting the leachate in mediums. I personally, thought it was an important learning experience since I will later be working in a laboratory environment similar to this in the near future. Not only was it a learning experience, but I thought it was a bonding experience as our team started becoming friends. This was ultimately demonstrated when part of the group agreed to hang out after dinner to go swimming!

Najuma Maharjan

Our first field trip to Norman Landfill was a great success. We sampled five wells as directed by Dr. Stevenson and his co-workers. After that we used those samples to inoculate various media like SRB MPN tubes, TSB MPN tubes and TSA plates. We have set those inoculated plates and tubes to monitor growth over the next 24-96 hours. Hopefully we will get accurate results soon. So far, it was absolutely a new experienced and exciting day.

Kristen Worthen

Today I and my lab partner Sushma did inoculations from a sample obtained from well 35 at the Norman landfill. First, we made SRB MPN’s of dilutions from 10-1 to 10-5, in triplicate, and began to let them incubate. This set of tubes was anaerobic. We then made TSB MPN’s from the leachate from the same well, diluting from 10-1 through 10-5, again in triplicate. This set of tubes was aerobic. We then made PBS dilution tubes from 10-1 through 10-4, and used these to inoculate TSA plates at 10-2 through 10-5. This process was also done in triplicate. Cellulose agar plates were then inoculated from the PBS dilution series, just as for the TSA plates. Finally, we made cellulose overlay plates by spreading 1mL of undiluted leachate onto each of three salt plates and overlaying them with cellulose. All the plates and tubes were then allowed to incubate.

Patricia Pace

Today was our first field trip. We went to the Norman Landfill. The class sampled a total of 5 wells. We then were able to return to the lab and use this leachate to inoculate some media. Hopefully we were successful and will see some growth in our tubes that we can use later in our experiments. We worked well together, and because of this left the lab at a reasonable hour. I also was informed on the building I need to visit to apply for a temporary parking permit so that I can drive to and from class. All in all it has been a good day.

Sushma Ale

Field trip turned out better than anticipated. The weather was just favorable to bear the heat for two and some hour outdoor. The tricky part of the day was to be able to stick the needle and the vent needle into the sample bottles. In this attempt, I squirt leachate all over myself several times which is why my favorite part of the day was pipeting and streaking plates after we returned to the lab. It was not only inside an air conditioning, but also we were able to spare some extra time for ourselves. It was a tiresome afternoon and we definitely deserved it !!

Day 2

Day 2 started off early, but everyone was ready and willing to go off to the Norman Landfill Research Site (NLRS) to get some samples for the class! We split off into two groups, with both learning how to sample together at the first site, and then each group was tasked with sampling two sites each.

A few hours later, and after getting some time to clean up, it was back in the lab to start work on the morning’s samples. The media made on the first day  was inoculated, and with hard work by all the students, everyone finished up early enough to grab dinner and relax for the rest of the evening!

Day 1- Student’s Reactions

Each day we’ll post paragraphs from the students, and how they felt about the course for the day. Here are the reactions from day one!

Sushma Ale

1st lecture by Dr. Stevenson was a great start. Even though the itinerary seemed a little too overwhelming, positive attitude and enthusiasm was highly encouraged. Day 1 was very exciting: new lab coat, new lab notebooks, new folder, and new techniques added a whole lot of NEW EXPERIENCE. My most exciting part of the day was working in the anaerobic chamber; I felt like a mini astronaut!!

Miranda Day

Today was definitely a day of learning. Being a math major in a science lab feels a little out of my league, but it was very interesting to learn how a microbiology lab works. I’ve never worn a lab coat before, so I felt pretty cool wearing it.

Najuma Maharjan

Thank you so much Blake Stamps and Dr. Brad Stevenson- awesome and wonderful host for the first day of class. Met some great friends and heard amazing lecture full of curiosity this morning.  Food provided was healthy and delicious. It was super fascinating to be able to use microbiology lab tools especially on the very top of OU building with amazing scenery time and again. I really had a joyful day and hoping it to be the same in coming days. Like Dr. Stevenson said this morning I believe I will definitely walk away with more knowledge and new experience than I had before I came here. Once again thank you so much for this awesome program. I greatly appreciate it!

Patricia Pace

Yesterday we Dr Stevenson spoke about the course for the first time. We learned what the experiment involved that we are attempting to perform. We also got our lab notebooks and were instructed on how to use them. Jason Masoner then came and spoke about the landfill we would be visiting. After lunch Dr Michael McInerney lectured regarding the nutritional requirements of anaerobes and demonstrated how to inoculate a vial of media. Later in the afternoon Judith, Sushma, Christine, and I were able to make the broth for some aerobic plates. After dinner we each practiced making media vials for anaerobes using the glove-box station. It was a fun and interesting day.

Jeremiah White

Today started off with an overview of the course objectives by Dr. Stevenson.  We also were informed about his work and area interest in microbiology.  Our first guest speaker was Jason Masoner with USGS from the Norman landfill.  He informed us of the leachate plume and the landfill’s importance in national landfill research.  A trip is planned Tuesday to take samples form the sites.  Dr. McInerney spoke second on the nutritional requirements and media design for anaerobes.  His lecture included why anaerobes need the nutrients and how to isolate and culture these microbes.  He wrapped the lecture up with a demonstration of isolating, culturing, and spinning a sample in anaerobic media tube.  The rest of the day the group mixed the mediums used for the course.  The day was ended in Dr. Stevenson’s Lab where everyone got some experience in the anaerobic chambers.

Ram D. Shah

Today, the first day was a great starting day. I got a clear vision about the whole summer course. It will be interesting, challenging and knowledgeable. Day was started with Dr. Stevenson’s speech about the outlines and goal of this summer course then Jason Masoner, the first guest speaker of this course, explained us about the Norman Landfill site where we are going tomorrow. Today, we did some laboratory experiments too, we did some medium preparations.

… More to come!

Day 1

Day one is complete, and it’s been a busy one! The class began with a presentation by Dr. Brad Stevenson, followed by a talk from Jason Masoner, who we will be working with tomorrow at the Norman Landfill Research Site (NLRS).

After a quick lunch, it was off to the lab, and a quick lecture and lesson on microbial growth requirements by Dr. Mike McInerney and a demonstration of the roll tube technique.

All of the media we’ll be needing for the cultivation portion of the class was made by the students, and they got a firsthand look at how to use an anaerobic chamber.

Day 0

Everyone (almost!) has arrived, and we took a short walking tour of campus, followed by the welcome reception at O’Connell’s. Lectures begin tomorrow at 9AM, but the lab, the lecturers and the teaching assistants are all ready to start bright and early!


Hello! And welcome to the beginning of what is sure to be an interesting two week summer course! I am the teaching assistant for the course Blake Stamps, and over the next several weeks I will be updating this blog nightly with images and updates from the course to give insight into the happenings in the lab, out in the field, and wherever else we venture out to.