This blog is organized in reverse order...from the oldest post to the newest.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I left the lab last night at about 8 PM. I received a call this morning a few minutes ago describing how the Loki Variation has been released through some sort of accident at the testing lab. I was told that human beings have been infected, outside of the lab. I was told to report to a different meeting location for everyone involved in the project, probably to come up with ways to contain the infection before it reaches a greater population.

I have tried to leave the project. I have tried to transfer out to a different internship somewhere, but strangely, no other labs were accepting new interns. I tried to request a leave of absence, but was denied. My next step was to just leave and try to work it out with the Master's program later but I had not taken that step yet, and I fear I may have waited too long.

I am going to the meeting. I don't know what to expect, but I do know that several local authorities on infectious diseases and health departments have been notified, and there may already be a quarantine in effect. I am not sure how widespread this has already become.

What I do know is that this is a very dangerous parasite. It creates a very dangerous creature, stronger and faster than we ever thought, and resilient. The parasite reproduces at an alarmingly fast rate, and is easily transmitted. And it makes the infected extremely volatile, violent, and dangerous.

In Norse mythology, Loki was originally used by the Gods to do their bidding. He ended up becoming more and more mischievous, until mischief turned into evil. He eventually ended up being responsible for the death of the God of Light, and was prophesied to be the one to lead the battle against the Gods.

I'm scared that I couldn't have picked a more appropriate name for the Loki Variation.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I am completely at a loss. After my last post, I went back to my lab, and continued assisting in the creation, maintenance, and observation of the Loki Variation. I tried to ignore what I had seen at the other facility, telling myself that it was for the greater good.

However, I think I have learned something I can't ignore. I think they are now testing on humans.

I received a copy of a report on the results of the latest attempt to control the rapid reproduction of the Loki Variation using common anti-parasite drugs. Basically the results of the testing are satisfactory to the ones with the money; I think I have that figured out as well, but I will come back to that.

However, they want to be able to cure it just as rapidly as it can be administered. None of the drugs are working, and the report included negative effects on organs and specific parts of the body, except these body parts and organs are different than what would be in a chimpanzee. I'm not a zoologist, so I am studying, but I am fairly certain they are now using the Loki Variation on human subjects. This goes beyond any ethical problem I imagined I would be facing.

As far as figuring out what the actual goal of the company is, I am trying to stay off the conspiracy theory bandwagon, but it's becoming clearer every day that this parasitic infection was never meant for medicine, but more for use as a military tactic.

Pump the soldiers with a parasite that gives them an adrenaline rush, send them to fight, and then give them the antidote when they are done. How is that for some action movie plot insanity? I think I am working for a company that wants to create super soldiers. I can't even wrap my head around it, but I do know that the government and military have tried things like this in the past, using LSD and other drugs, and we all know about Agent Orange and the governments ever-growing desire to come up with something a step ahead of anyone else.

So there it is. I don't have any proof of any of this, but I am pretty sure that even if I am not completely correct, I am not far off the mark. I can't keep working on this project, but I am just not sure how to get out of it without ruining my Master's program.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Delicate Balance.

I don't even know where to begin, or if I even should.

After 4 weeks of observing the Loki Variation outside of a host, I was invited to spend time at the lab of the other team, where the actual testing of the variations was taking place. I had braced myself for the hard part of testing, the use of animals. I wasn't ready for what I found.

I am trying to justify it in my mind, and I am not sure I can. This is my career choice, I fully stand behind what I am doing, and there are things that I will have to accept in order to continue. I just don't know if this is one of them.

But they are testing on chimpanzees. Not rats. Primates. I have never felt more like one of the extremist animal activists as I did when I saw them, all lined up in rows in a fluorescent-lit,stainless steel lab, some of them drugged or sedated, others...well, not.

I bit my tongue, though, and was able to actually be a part of the testing and observation for a while.

The Loki Variation is producing the same symptoms as what is normally called an adrenaline rush. The adrenal gland is stimulated, and releases the endorphins necessary to bring about what is known as the "fight or flight" response. This is what you experience when you have a moment of panic, and your body does things that prepare you for what you might have to do next to survive. It's the most basic of instincts that most living creatures experience.

Let's say you are walking down the street minding your own business, and suddenly you come face to face with a lion. Your adrenal gland is stimulated by the sight of the lion, and it goes into action. It releases chemicals that tell your body to do things, like make your heart beat faster to pump blood faster so that you are already ready to go if you need to run. It pushes a chemical into your muscles that make them stronger than normal, temporarily, in case you need to fight the lion. It dilates your eyes a bit so you can see more, especially in dark scenarios, and it sometimes even makes your body dispel extra weight to move faster, which is why some people urinate or defecate on themselves in times of terror. Your body is preparing for either fighting the lion or running away from it, and this all takes place in a matter of a few seconds, all controlled by a tiny gland.

The Loki Variation is not the first external cause of manipulating the adrenal gland. Several recreational drugs can do this, as well as putting yourself in a situation where your body's natural reaction is fight or flight, like skydiving or something. Ever heard of the term adrenaline junkie? That's why.

But, what the Loki Variation can do is turn that gland on, and have it produce the adrenaline rush for an extended period of time. That is where we are right now in testing. These chimpanzees exhibit the symptoms of an adrenaline rush, from the rapid heartbeat to the involuntary shaking of the pumped muscles, the dilated eyes to the higher pain tolerance and strength. Can you imagine being locked in an adrenaline rush for hours, days, weeks?

That's not even the most horrifying part.

Another apparent symptom of the manipulation of the adrenal gland is some kind of neurosis or psychosis, where they become violent and uncontrollable. It's like watching a horror movie. As soon as a tech enters the room, the entire place goes nuts; screaming, banging, some of them hurting themselves trying to get at the techs.

And so far, they don't know how to get rid of the Loki Variation, there is no off switch. Except death.

I don't know how long this blog will stay up. I am putting my job at an incredible risk to post this information, but it's a very delicate balance for me between marching forward with research that could help society, or reporting something I find indescribably cruel and pointless. I don't know which one this is yet.

I will post more as soon as I can.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Hello everyone! I apologize for the length of time that has gone by since the last entry. To compensate, I will give you the best news so far:

We have a success!

Well, more of a success than a failure. After the first 8 variations were tested, 5 of them were scrapped, and 3 of them were sent back to the drawing board for a bit more modification. There were also 2 more variations that were created as well. They are the B0L75 and the G12M0 variations, lovingly called the "Bolts" and "Gizmo" variations by me. Ah, the strange things being a lonely lab tech will make you do...

This cycle has happened more than a few times at this point. Several modifications and modifications on modifications have been created, tested, and failed. I have gone through 76 variations total. None of them have been successful.

Anyway, initial results on all of the modified variations as well as the new variations didn't look very promising. Apparently the parasite became unstable and weak as a result of the modifications, and although I could keep them alive in a dormant state, as soon as they were administered to the subjects, certain functions failed. Mostly it was reproduction. The little guys just can't do it on their own.

We had heard rumors of possibly splicing a piece of genetic material from a type of virus, as viruses are masters at reproducing. They basically make the cells of whatever it is that they infected get really confused and start making copies of the virus itself.

The idea was to give the protozoan parasite variations the ability to reproduce like a virus. As far as I know, splicing a parasite and a virus together has never been attempted, let alone been successful. Trying to keep the same traits that we are looking for in the parasite (which I am not even sure of at this point) as well as making it able to reproduce on it's own in a relatively short time is the ultimate goal.

Two new "viral parasite" variations were presented a few weeks ago. They were labeled "L0K1" and "L0N6," following the same pattern as before where the part of the genetic code that was altered is named, and you can see the "L0" that is apparent in each label is representative of a gene responsible for reproduction. To me, the two new variations are called the Loki Variation and the Long Variation.

The success came today, we were told that rapid reproduction has been observed in the test subjects. Evidently, the Loki Variation has provided most of the wanted results in the subjects, and can also reproduce on it's own, very rapidly. Again, I can't tell you much about the desired effects, or the actual results of the testing, either because of NDAs I signed, or because I just don't know, but it's an exciting time right now at the lab.

Since the Loki Variation is the one that has come closest to producing the criteria wanted by the company that hired our lab, it looks like the more in depth part of my internship will begin. The Loki Variation will be reproduced outside a host, and it will be up to me to keep them alive, and to observe their patterns when they are not inside a host. I also will be able to compare my observations with the observations of the test team, so I will finally be able to see what the results of the parasite on living creatures will be. I'm nervous and excited.

I feel that I could go into a rambling fit at any moment, so I will end here. But rest assured that I will post more as soon as I have news.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Testing has begun on several of the variations of the parasite. I have not been able to become involved in the testing of the effects the parasite has, but I do get a vague report of results.

So far, five of the initial variations have been scrapped. Either the parasites didn't survive, or they had no effect, or they had effects that were not desirable. Part of me wants to be there for the observation of what the parasite will do to a living creature, but the other part of me is a softie, and would probably feel sorry for the lab rats.

What will happen now is that the 3 variations that were not scrapped will be modified further. I think they will be trying a few completely new variations as well, and word is that one alternative to just the gene manipulation is to actually attempt to give the parasite some of the same genetic structures as a virus. That could be interesting.

Either way, I don't see myself ever becoming bored with this. I'm not sure any intern has ever been so eager to get up at the crack of dawn everyday to get to a lab and work. I'll keep everyone posted when the new variations are presented.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I apologize for how long it's been since I posted. A lot has happened, and when I came back to update, I had to delete a lot of comments. Apparently, it is still held as a belief that what is being done at the lab is somehow a direct insult to God or Allah or whichever Creator you believe I have offended. Even if some of the comments were not what you would call civil, I will respond to them with how I reconcile my beliefs and my work.

I believe in a Creator. I'm not going into details, everyone is allowed to believe what they want. But my belief is that whatever Creator put us here gave us the ability and these tools to do what we are doing. This is an effort to move His creations forward, to help them. I don't see any wrong in that. I understand this is a controversial subject, messing with the very ingredients that make up every living creature. However, it's being done to help us along to the day that sicknesses and suffering no longer plague us.

Modifying genes, even in parasites, to do something beneficial is nothing all that new. Look up the Phorid flies. They are basically a parasite that was already in existence, but changed to keep the population of fire ants in the U.S. under control. If you think that is messing with nature or going against the wishes of a Creator, please realize that the fire ants were not indigenous to the area, and were accidentally introduced by humans. It messed up the ecosystem, and it was the fault of man, so isn't it man's responsibility to correct his mistake? So we are.

This is all I am going to say on the subject. I will immediately delete any posts having to do with this debate, whether it's for it or against it. This was not the reason I created this blog. I want to share the experience and knowledge I gain, and if that is what you came here for, then by all means, thank you.

It is early in the morning and I have to leave. I wish I had enough time to go into the updates, but that will have to wait until I get home.

Again, thank you.

Friday, September 26, 2008


First round of modifications. Not to bore anyone with specifics, but the goal seems to be what I was thinking it was. To change the effects that a parasite has on it's host, to make it less harmful. The project is a little more compartmentalized than I had hoped, there supposedly won't be much information exchanged between the team that is observing the results of the parasites on subjects and the team doing the actual gene modification. Since I am on the genetic engineering side, I may not know what the actual results of the modified parasites is on the test subjects, I will only know if they were labeled as successful or not.

Either way, I am still excited. There were 4 different modifications done to 2 different species. As far as I know, these were changes made that are thought to alter amino acid secretion and reproduction.

I would name my new babies, but there are a few hundred of them. However, I have decided to name the modified groups. So far the labels are basically which genes were isolated for modification on which species. The eight variations we have are all seemingly random numbers and letters that coordinate with certain spots on the genetic code of different species that were mapped out prior. Since they are confusing to even me, I'm trying to turn them into legible words.

Variation TA2DO9 looks like TAZDOG. So that's the TAZDOG variation. Very imaginative, I know.

So far, we have:

JR39C - Junior (JR) Variation
G1GR - GEIGER Variation
V10LA - VIOLA Variation
S33DS5 - SEEDS Variation
WN7R - WINTER Variation
D0RS5 - DOORS Variation
A1R0W - ARROW Variation

Even I am aware of how lonely and pathetic it makes me sound to list out the names I created from the labels. Wow.

Oh well, I enjoy it, and I hope at the very least, this turns out to be education or entertainment for some people.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Hello, again. I've had a couple of comments come in asking me to prove that I am not making this up. To them, I have this to say: No.

I already said that I signed NDAs and that I was not able to go into full detail about everything. I love the idea of writing a blog and letting anyone who is interested follow. I would have loved to have found something like this earlier, I still would. But I love my job more, and I am not going to blow that because of a few jaded internet people. I honestly apologize.

What I can tell you about the project, though, is still pretty interesting. The lab was hired by a pretty prolific private company that specializes in health and medicine. I can imagine that they, in turn, were hired by someone else like a pharmaceutical company or health department, to come up with a product. It's our job to help them design that product. I think.

What we have right now are several species of protozoan parasites. These little guys will be getting a bit of genetic engineering, some of their genes turned on or off, depending, and then another group of scientists will be recording the effects of the modifications. Where do I fit into this?

I make sure that the newly altered baby parasites are kept alive until the scientists can observe them and record the effects. It's not my dream job yet, but it's pretty close.

The actual controls have been laid out already, meaning that the genetic modifications are green lighted for next week. With the short reproduction time of these parasites, hopefully it won't be too long after that, I will have more information for anyone interested.

Thanks for the comments.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Quick lesson.

Hello again. I thought I should throw in a quick lesson on parasites before I get to the good stuff.

Bear in mind that I am not a teacher, but I probably do know more about parasites than the average person would even want to know, so here goes.

The definition of a parasite is: An organism that lives in or on and takes its nourishment from another organism. A parasite cannot live independently. There are thousands of different parasites, and fungi and bacteria can fall within that definition as well. The two main types are protozoan parasites (which are tiny and microscopic) and helminths (which are worms.) There are also carriers, called vectors, but I’m not getting into that right now.

What is important to know about parasites for what I am doing at work is that there are 3 main things most parasites do. They eat, they reproduce, and they secrete. One or more of those three things is what is harmful to the host. They might eat cells that are vital to the host, like the human brain parasite Naegleria fowleri. Or, the reproduction might be what hurts the host, because the parasite creates cysts to hold the cute little babies in, which cause all kinds of problems. And then there are the secretions. This is parasite poop. It is the waste that is usually toxic to the host, and there are so many examples of parasites that secrete harmful substances that I am not even going to start listing them out.

I am, however, going to introduce you to a little parasite you may already be quite well-acquainted with, although you may not know it. It’s Toxoplasma gondii. This little guy lives in raw meat and cat feces, and makes its way inside a person. It does a whole bunch of nasty stuff in there, but the most interesting part is that it seems that the secretions of this parasite may cause schizophrenia.

To sum it up, this is a parasite that is microscopic, is pretty common, and once it gets into a human body, it poops something that changes the chemical makeup of a person’s brain. It can make them "crazy." And that is just one example.

There are already many kinds of parasites that can invade an animal or insect and changes their behavior. There is a parasitic worm that will make a cricket jump into water and drown itself, so the worm can break out and lay eggs in the water. There is another that will convince an ant to hang from a leaf suicidally to attract a bird to eat it. Having a living organism that can invade a human’s body and then manipulate the behavior of the human is a pretty mind-blowing idea to begin with. If only we could control which behaviors are modified by the parasite and in what way. That is the idea behind the work at the lab.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Hello. I am wondering if anyone is every really even going to read this. I have been told that science is "cool." I still have my serious doubts, though. I was never considered cool, even in all my science nerd glory. But I will try to remain hopeful.

I am one of the few people left that believe it is a bad idea to post all your personal information on the internet, but I will tell you that my name is Sanjeev. I am an American, born in India, and I'm in my mid-twenties. I am currently studying for my Master's degree in microbiology, and therefore have started working at a lab as a technician. That is where the fun starts.

Although I am just a tech/assistant (you would not believe how much paperwork that involves) I am hoping to gain a lot of hands-on experience that is hard to find in Universities.

This past week, a team of biologists, microbiologists, and geneticists have been put together to work on a contracted project the lab just received.I signed enough papers to know that I can't give away too many details about the lab, the employees, or the project, but the lineup is pretty impressive to me.

The subject of the project is supposed to be parasites. That works for me, as parasites were the topic of more than one of my papers. I should find out, in the next few weeks, what my role will be and what the goal of this project is. I will try to update as soon as I know. If I remember.

Until then!