Hello all! We hope those of you who celebrate Christmas are starting to feel pretty festive, we certainly are here at CiteAb Towers! We’ve popped on the Christmas tunes and have cracked open the mince pies. We’ve just got to keep Matt away from the Sherry until he’s finished uploading antibodies for the day!

Fungal Christmas Tree
Fungal Christmas tree. Top: Talaromyces stipitatus; Tree: Aspergillus nidulans; Ornaments: Penicillium marneffei; Trunk: Aspergillus terreus.
All credit goes to Stephanie Mounaud at the J. Craig Venter Institute

For some light relief as you’re finishing up your experiments ready to go on holiday, we thought we’d share some of the best bits of the web for scientists this Christmas – from gift ideas and jokes to songs and tree decorations!

So first up, our help with your gifts. For your chemist friends you really can’t beat this bamboo chopping board, which is perfect for using periodically. And our favourite neuroscience surprise is this beautiful hand-sculpted candle in a jar.

Don’t forget your infection and immunity buddies who’ll enjoy this handmade fused glass measles virus magnet, and your favourite girl geek will just love this upcycled Campylobacter pendant.

Why not get your colleague a beautiful giant plush antibody, and remember that the New Scientist has tips to help you use game theory in the office secret santa to ensure you get as good as you give!

Moving on from gift ideas, you’ll be looking to decorate your tree soon. From this lovely little Amoeba ornament and this male Drosophila Melanogaster fly, to some shiny red blood cells and even a Bazinga for you Big Bang Theory fans, there is no excuse for a boring tree this year!

And now, a little festive song that Matt found:

Hark the streptococcus brings,
Strep sore throat to all that sing,
Chloraseptic doesn’t cure it,
Other people’s sneezing lures it,
If the strep bug has a virus,
Scarlet fever then arises,
Hark! The streptococcus totes,
Toxin and fire to all it smotes.

Pneumonia makes you cough and sneeze,
Mucus fills the lungs with sleaze,
A vicious greenish oozing cloak,
That causes you to gasp and choke,
Without water you can drown,
If you breath the strep germ down,
Hark! The streptococcus breeds,
The misery of a bad disease.

Of fecal strep in food beware,
Methane gas befouls the air,
Speedly you drop your pants,
As if they held live fire ants,
On the toilet you are dying,
Bent in pain, your guts liquefying,
Hail! The streptococcus means,
Glory to those who would be lean.

– Well yes, thank you to Matt for sharing that little beauty with us.

On that note folks, thank you so much for the great discussion, banter and antibody searching we’ve shared in 2013, and have a fabulous Christmas and new year. We are really looking forward to catching up with you again in the new year, and to an equally fantastic 2014!

– The CiteAb team