About & Contact Loyola Legacy Fund Non-Fermenter ID Milestones


.Ten Years of WIPs – July 15, 2022

Ten years ago, during a particularly slow week, I set about deploying a secret project to surprise my dad. For decades, he had been working with flow charts; for years, we had been using Biobase or PIBWin to provide probabilistic calculations. However, Biobase was DOS-based, and we found that hospital users generally needed admins to install PIBWin. I was nearing my Ph.D. defense, and that bolstered my coding skills. I had gained enough insight. I could make my own calculator — one that wasn’t tied to an operating system, but one that could be used in a browser.

I didn’t say a word to my dad about this. I just built it. The calculator files were teeeny in comparison to the old programs. I was fully confident that they could be utilized in any country on any device that had an internet connection. After I had tested the system, I called my dad, vaguely directed him to the website, and listened as the amazement sank in. He knew I had changed the game, and before we got off the phone, he was already drafting an announcement letter to every relevant list.

I have made some improvements along the way, but now, I’m poked by a different curiosity. The WIPs have been out for ten years. My dad has been gone for nearly six, and yet, people are still here using this setup on a daily basis. Who are you? What is the primary purpose of your WIP usage? When do you find the system useful when there are newer tools like MALDI-TOF that can bank IDs? I’d be interested to hear from you all, so feel free to pop me an email. It’s listed in the About section.

Anyway! Take care,

.WIPs Hit 25000th Identification! – January 31, 2022

In the wee hours of the morning, the ASHEX Project hit another milestone—the WIPs’ 25000th identification. When things like this happen, I often reflect on the journey. Adam’s Simple Helper EXperiment started in the middle of 2004. I had just graduated high school, and my dad thought it would be fun/nice for me to work at UIC in the lab during the summer months.

Most days were spent running urine samples on agar plates and writing updated procedures for the lab’s equipment. However, on one particular afternoon, one of the lab managers gave a particularly specific task. One of the old typewritten procedures needed to be transcribed exactly, word for word, to the page, with all of its wacky margins preserved in Word. I began this task and found that, to get every word exactly lined up as it had been in the document, it would take infinitely more time to accomplish the mission. I approached said manager, stated my concerns, and said that I was more than happy to remake the Table of Contents. I was shot down.

By the time I reached Page 40, I was losing my mind. Tedious repetition has never been my thing, and this offering to the pedantic spirit drove me closer and closer to an unmotivated stupor. I reached the limits of my patience, strolled into my dad’s office, and told him I had had enough of the current timeline. I needed a challenge. I needed science!

He replied with one of those classic Paul Schreckenberger grins, cast his gaze at a binder of biochemical tests, and pulled the only “Well, actually…” in my life that ever led to something good. Brent Barrett had told him about this PIBWin thing. He had always wanted to build a GNNFB identification table, but he never had the time—or the computer expertise—to grind through the hundreds of isolate biochemicals.

I, on the other hand, was riding a computer high. I knew how to build the table, was soaring on the open-source movement, and had the time. I spent years piecing together and updating the original ASHEX matrix, but as the years ticked on, I began to see a problem. The table was great, but PIBWin lived in an XP world that was getting left behind by Windows 7, Android, and MacOS.

In the midst of my Ph.D. candidacy, I had acquired the coding skills needed to pursue my particle physics research, and in 2012, I decided to use them to surprise my dad with something a little crazy. The mathematics used to produce the probability calculations from the matrix were fairly straightforward. At the end of the day, it all boiled down to multiplication and division. I could write my own calculator. I could make it web-based, and I could make it OS agnostic.

I coded the ASHEX WIP in an afternoon and started double checking all of the isolate results that I could. The WIP hit all the marks. It was delivering identifications in-browser. Someone could run it on a phone! And it was accurate. I giddily called my father that night and gave the teasing nudge. “I think you should check out your website. I’ve deployed something new.”

It’s been almost ten years since then, and the suite of WIPs has now grasped this new milestone. It’s also been over five years since my dad died, and—full, honest disclosure—there have been times when I have wondered if we’ve reached the point of no return for this little corner of the internet. The site remains as a testament to the Dr. S legacy—as a free service to the community he loved—but the costs are not free, and as time marches on, the field continues to progress to other technologies.

The Universe, however, is always the most imaginative thing in the room. Like clockwork, a message appeared in my inbox that thanked me for keeping things running. The WIP is a huge time saver for the lab. :) Guess it’s a good thing I tacked on another few years of hosting. Thank you for continuing to find the tools useful. Here’s to 25K.

.20000th Identification! – February 14, 2018

Earlier this morning, I came across the exciting find that the WIP system had been used to make its 20000th identification. It’s hard to express my amazement that a little bit of code I strung together in 2012 has managed to have such a global impact. The honors of 20K go to Canada, and there has recently been an increased use from countries in Western Africa. Here’s to 30K and an even brighter future.


.News Regarding the AID-Cloud WIPs – April 20, 2015

Greetings and happy Monday folks! I have some big news to share this afternoon. Less than three years after the deployment of the Web-ID system, the AID-Cloud has recorded its 10,000th identification. This is a big milestone for us that I feel is worth sharing. When I began compiling my dad’s data back in 2004, I had no idea ASHEX would eventually touch 126 countries. If you had asked me back then that in 2012 I would have the coding experience to build a browser-based app, I would have probably laughed. If you had then told me that – within three years – the system would have been utilized for 10,000 identifications, I probably would have just grinned. I hope these tools continue to serve the Micro community – and that the goals established by a much-younger, past me continue to be met through the use of this software. Thanks for putting a little part of me in your lab space.


.AID Cloud Report – July 31, 2012

In the week since the AID Cloud was announced, has received over 2000 hits from at least a dozen countries. The WIPs have been accessed at least 1200 times in that time frame as well. I hope these tools continue to assist the medical community.

~A.P. Schreckenberger