Frequently Asked Questions

How did you get your job?

I followed Route 2 of this certification process: http://www.ascp.org/certification#tabs-1

What credentials do you have?

The letters I have behind my name are M(ASCP)cm, which means I’m board certified by the American Society of Clinical Pathology as a scientist  in the area of Microbiology. The little “cm” stands for “credential maintenance” which means I’m required to do continuing education to keep my certification.

Where does the fungus in your photos come from?

Most of the specimens that grow the fungus in my photos are from respiratory, skin, or nail sites on a patient. They come from the sinuses, are coughed up, or collected via scrapings and clippings of the skin and nails.

How do you get your photos?

The specimens are placed on appropriate growth media (aka. fungus food in petri dishes). I check the petri dishes for growth over an incubation period of 28 days. If something fuzzy grows in the dish (think about the fuzzy green stuff on bread), I examine it on a glass slide under the microscope.

The most common method I use for this is called a “scotch tape prep.” Using the sticky side of scotch tape, I touch the fuzzy growths (aerial hyphae) in the petri dish. I then lay the tape over a stain that preserves the structures of the organisms and allows them to be viewed under the microscope.  I then use my iphone to take a picture through the ocular lens of the microscope. I don’t have any fancy attachments or cameras for my scope.

I really like your photos. May I use them for my own purposes?

Please do not post or use my photos without my express permission. I work really hard to capture unique and aesthetically pleasing images. If you like a particular image, please email me.

Why are your photos always blue?

The stain that is used to preserve the structures of the fungi and view them under the microscope is called “lactophenol cotton blue.” And it’s blue, so…yep. I’ve never worked in a facility that uses anything else. I like green, though! Green would be cool. But all I have is blue.

Are your photos a HIPAA violation?

My photos do not contain any patient information, patient specimens, or information that may identify a patient. My photos only show organisms. 

Are any of your prints for sale?

I’m working on some sort of store? Trying to figure it out. If you’re interested in a print or a mug shoot me an email: chaetomiumqueen@gmail.com