I'm submitting a paper today, hopefully. So journal, Santa's coming early baby! Remember that dear editor, don't have ice water flowing through your veins and desk reject. Because Santa GR will remember and you'll get a lump of coal next year!
If you are celebrating the holidays, I hope you have a safe and fun time surrounded by friends and loved ones. May your drunk uncle be even drunker and your awkward pauses at the dinner table be even more awkward. And if you aren't celebrating the holidays, well then I hope you are having a good day and looking forward to the weekend.
Let's get ready for 2017. Maybe the Mayan predictions weren't that far off.
I paraphrased a quote from Field of Dreams for the title of this post, but you get the gist. If you build the opportunity, women will come be a part of it.
We ran an event for young women last year to get them interested in STEM fields as a career. Cut to me now sifting through the applicants for high school summer interns and we are getting a lot more applications from young women in high school and particularly women from underrepresented minority backgrounds than we have before. This to me is a huge success and does not occur in a vacuum. This is a testament to the huge buy in from our institution, local civic groups (in particular women's groups), and STEM-related businesses.
Now we have the fantastic opportunity to show these young women that would normally not have a significant exposure to science that STEM careers are attainable, rewarding, and really damn cool.
So I got saddled with a presentation to some local undergrads about our work that we do in the lab in hopes of inspiring these young and bright minds to come do a senior thesis in the lab. I've got ~20 minutes and I'm wondering how to organize the presentation. I'm thinking of either talking on project in some detail or giving a broad and quick overview and then presenting two or three short vignettes on projects that these students could work with me on. I know I can give a better presentation if I just present one project, but since this is a sales pitch I think I'm going to work present it as here is what we do and some things that you can work on.
Thoughts. Tips. Excuses not to?
Is anyone using an ELN system for their lab. I've been looking at a few, Evernote in particular, to help me keep my multiple projects organized? Didn't know if you found a helpful system or what difficulties you had in implementing this?
For the summer I have been fortunate to be assigned (read: saddled) with a high school intern. It turns out this kid kicks ass and has been nothing less than a pleasure, making reevaluate my dim view of summer interns. My goal from day one was to make them fairly autonomous but giving them a real project for which they have helped to collect data on. And they've done a great job helping me finish up the last few figures for a paper we are trying to push out the door soon. And its a win win for them to as they are wanting to use the work they did in the lab towards gaining an International Baccalaureate diploma.
I've been really impressed at their desire and ability to grasp not just the procedural stuff but also the conceptual aspects of what we do. This intern has been fun and really rejuvenating, I'll be sad to see them go. But we might work out some type of research arrangement in the fall.
Andy Deans (@GenomeStability), a researcher at St. Vincent's University that studies the DNA repair genes related to Fanconi anemia and just a really nice guy, posted this week on twitter about a crazy MTA that he received from someone when trying to obtain a plasmid from them. This MTA is so nuts I just had to post it.
I can kind of see co-authorship if its a relatively new reagent or something hotly in demand. But having editorial control of the manuscript when you just provided a reagent is bullshit. It would be like asking my neighbor to borrow his tire iron to change my tires and he can then tell me which kinds of tire I have to buy. Its a bit delusional really, but I hope Andy got it all resolved.
After having chatted with a few friends this week about their success and failures, I think the Hallmark corporation needs to come out with a greeting card line for scientists, with cards such as:
-Sorry your grant got triaged.
-Congratulations on your publication.
-Fuck Reviewer #3.
-Way to go, your NRSA got picked up!
What's the old saying, you neighbor loses his job and its a recession, but you lose your job, and its a depression. Well the shoe finally dropped for one of my friends and he was put on notice that his job disappears as of January 1st. Sadly for him there was no advance notice that this was coming. I'm sure in the next year and probably the couple of subsequent ones, that more and more folks are going to getting pink slipped or P45'd. More than a few of my friends who are trainees and techs are quietly brushing up resumes and trying to find homes in labs with more stable track records of funding.
Really its all very bleak and no one wants to talk about it, but its on our minds. So to anyone displaced or about to be displaced from employment, I hope you guys land on your feet again soon. When I got into science 12 years ago it seemed like the sky was the limit and I rarely ever heard of people getting cut loose for waning funding. But as they say the times are a changing....and not for the better.
The Times They Are A-Changin' 1964 by aHobo
I know with the whole government shutdown and the tight paylines many labs are strapped for cash right now. So I'm announcing a new funding mechanism R01for$1, whereby you tell me what you are studying in one word, and if I like it I send you a dollar. Note that bacon will always elicit a favorable and profitable response. Proposals will be accepted on the standard NIH format or scrawled on to Taco Bell wrapper is also fine with me. There is no grant cycles, just forward me your proposals (read wrappers).
The center for scientific review is composed of myself, my skeevy 53 year old neighbor Dave who has an interlock device on his Ford Taurus, and Earl, my other neighbor who loves pot and the Doobie Brothers (who coincidentally none of the member are brothers). Earl isn't always available because sometimes he is tripping on mushrooms, but I should be able to find someone else.
I'll be looking forward to your proposals.
A funny thing happened this weekend, my institution's webcontent filtering software blocked us from going to the Bio-Rad website. Don't know what happened, maybe they wanted us to not use sucky products. I kid, but not really.