by Parth Patel

There are many lessons to learn in life but I believe one of the more important ones is perseverance. I can say that in my eighteen amazing years of being alive, I have never had to be so patient and persevere so much. The story of my phage goes as follows:

I started with a sample from near the San Martin Center garage. I decided to separate one sample for enrichment and direct plate the other. Sadly, the direct plating didn’t show any results and neither did the enrichment at first. I still streaked one little spot that had a very little chance of having any phage. The streak didn’t lead to anything except what looked like a couple of bubbles. I went out and collected a total of seven more samples. After days of direct plating, it left me with no phage and a lot of M. smegmatis. At this point, my faith was dwindling until I made a bet with my lab partner Derek to see who would get phage first. Around the same time, Dr. Fisher saw my original streak plate with the few spots from the enrichment. She suggested that I streak again just to make sure. I streaked the streak one more time and it came back with a beautiful collection of phages. I was ecstatic when I saw my phages; little did I know that this excitement was about to be crushed. I tried to streak again but my phages didn’t do anything. I was unfortunate enough to find phage for the wrong strain of bacteria. It turned out that my phages were not for M. smegmatis but for whatever bacteria was in the contamination. I was back to square one. Here I was thinking I had beat my lab partner at the bet and that I would be moving on with my phages which was all a lie. At this point, Derek had quite a bit of phage from Dr. Schildbach’s compost. I decided to adopt the phage and go on from there. Since then I have been working with the same line and I recently was able to calculate my titer and I have made my practice max web plate.

What important life lesson did I learn from this? I learned phageverance: the ability to persevere when the phage don’t want to.  This is probably the most important lesson a scientist should learn.


About ppatel35

Freshman at Johns Hopkins University
This entry was posted in From the Phage Hunters and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Phageverance.

  1. Is it my imagination, or is Dr. Fisher mentioned most frequently in connection with sage advice, and I’m mentioned most frequently in connection with compost?

  2. emilyjanefisher says:


  3. I guess you do what you have to when you got no composting skills.

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