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Post Archive
2020 (0)2010 (39)
December (3)

It's not "goodbye," it's...
Friday, December 17, 2010

I can haz music warz?
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Two weeks
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
November (10)

Interviews, for reals!
Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can I get a pdf of this?
Thursday, November 18, 2010

SfN 2010 Day 5: A video featuring Tideliar and Dr Becca
Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SfN 2010 Day 3: A video featuring Tideliar and Dr Becca
Monday, November 15, 2010

SfN Day 2 (better late than never)
Monday, November 15, 2010

SfN 2010, Day 1: a video blog featuring Tideliar and Dr Becca
Saturday, November 13, 2010

30,000 people is not actually that many people
Wednesday, November 10, 2010

We have a winner, and a cocktail!
Sunday, November 7, 2010

You. Immortalized. In a cocktail.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Time for BANTER!!!
Monday, November 1, 2010
October (8)

Your PowerPoint and You
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Have I told you lately that I love you?
Thursday, October 21, 2010

So I have an Interview.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's bribe time
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Research Blogging: The Postpartum Brain
Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's Business Time
Friday, October 8, 2010

That time I was on TV
Thursday, October 7, 2010

What?! Only 300 thread-count and no robe? Two stars!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
September (5)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Let me give you my card
Thursday, September 23, 2010

I gotta have some of your attention, give it to me!
Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Science Enemy
Monday, September 13, 2010

What I wish I knew before...I moved to New York City
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
August (9)July (4)
Blogger Profile

Dr Becca, Ph.D.

Dr Becca can now be found at .

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Recent Comments
Comment by marguerite in SABOTAGE!!!

So nice to know I'm not the only paranoid one. :-) But sad to know that sometimes "just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean their not after you". :-( **Off to go check prices for tiny cam. . .Read More
Jan 10, 2011, 8:39pm
Comment by Lab Mom in It's not "goodbye," it's...

Best of luck over in your new digs! We'll miss you! . . .Read More
Dec 17, 2010, 9:32pm
Comment by JaySeeDub in It's not "goodbye," it's...

Awww...does this mean no ex-scientist restaurant? Google reader has been updated! . . .Read More
Dec 17, 2010, 8:41pm
Comment by NatC in It's not "goodbye," it's...

It's been an exciting few weeks for you! Congrats on this (and surviving your first TT interview), I'll definitely be commuting over to continue following your adventures! . . .Read More
Dec 17, 2010, 1:07pm
Comment by Tideliar in It's not "goodbye," it's...

Wow! Congratulations Becca! . . .Read More
Dec 17, 2010, 12:37pm
Awesome Stuff
Banner design by Zen Faulkes

Views: 2279 | Comments: 8
Last by Lab Mom on Dec 17, 2010, 9:32pm
As I’m sure you’re well aware, we’ve lost several notable bloggers here of late. Tideliar, Biochem Belle and Genomic Repairman each did what I think is an excellent job describing the concerns that spurred their move back blogspot or WordPress, and I feel no reason to drudge all of that up again. I hope it suffices to say that I share their dissatisfaction and frustration regarding some executive decisions that have been made here, and I feel I should make it clear that I was a part of initial discussions that culminated in their—and now my--departure.

So why didn’t I join the rest in last week’s exodus, and pull the sheets off the furniture back at blogspot? Well, things were a bit…unsettled with respect to where my future home would be. And rather than announce my departure, only to announce another departure a week or two later, I thought it best to sit tight and do it all at once. I am a single-announcement kind of gal, you see.

And so, on to that announcement. As indicated above, I’ll be leaving . . . More
Views: 459 | Comments: 6
Last by Dr Becca, Ph.D. on Dec 03, 2010, 3:22pm
Cackle of Rad started it. (See also PLS and Odyssey)

. . . More
Views: 1093 | Comments: 15
Last by Candid Engineer on Dec 05, 2010, 9:38pm
I signed my termination notice yesterday.

Now, I knew this was coming, and really my boss was incredibly generous to extend my stay into December (and benefits through Jan 1), but it's final; my last day at work is two weeks from tomorrow.

There is no immediate plan in place. With the SfN meeting and Thanksgiving taking up basically all of November, nothing has been settled one way or the other from my interview at the end of October. I have a different post-doc interview next week, and of course, my upcoming faculty interviews as well. I even took action on a Plan B, so it's not like I have nothing going on, but still. It's crazy to know that there's a day in the very near future when I'll just wake up and have nowhere to be. More meaningfully, I will not be doing The Science, for the first time since I started grad school over 10 years ago. It is heartbreaking.

I have only ever been unemployed once before, for about a month after college when I moved to th . . . More
Views: 1084 | Comments: 16
Last by Dr. Koshary on Nov 29, 2010, 6:44am
I am pleased to announce that the "towards" in "Fumbling Towards Tenure Track" is officially not wholly inaccurate, as the past week marked a very exciting milestone: my first invitations to interview for faculty positions! Yes, plural! I got one the eve before leaving for San Diego, and another yesterday morning, just after bidding a sad (but typically hilarious) farewell to Tideliar.

This is both thrilling and terrifying. I knew that my application package was much improved over last year's, but given the ridiculous market, I still wasn't sure how competitive I was. So I'm feeling a little validated, I have to say! I have just under a month before I fly out for the first one, and I want to do my absolute best! Please, leave any and all advice in the comments. It's probably worth noting that both of these jobs placed at least some emphasis on teaching, so if you have any knowledge in that arena, do speak up!

Finally, I'm just so grateful that I was first contacted by email, and not by surprise phone call. If you've been following me since the beginning, you know why I'm saying that--if not, please enjoy this repost from the early days of Dr Becca . . . More
Views: 710 | Comments: 18
Last by Dr. O on Nov 20, 2010, 12:27pm
It should go without saying that one of the primary purposes of meeting-going is to promote yourself and your work. You won't advance if you don't impress people, and how will you impress people without showing them how clever and important your science is? If you're at any stage of your career other than Professor Graybeard, most of this self-promotion will probably happen at your poster, where you get to tell people one-on-one about your latest exciting findings. But what if people are so impressed they want to take some of your findings home with them?

It's not uncommon for poster presenters to have handouts with a mini version of their poster on it, and poster visitors are usually more than happy to snatch those up. Others, however, are more protective of their unpublished data. I've mostly been on the "sharing is caring" side of the fence, but sometimes second-guess myself and wonder if that's a naive position.

Yesterday, one of the four people who came to my poster in the malodorous far reaches of the San Diego Conference Center asked if he could have a pdf of the poster. Ever one to put the ball in the other person's court, I gave him my ca . . . More
Views: 507 | Comments: 15
Last by Tideliar on Nov 18, 2010, 5:38pm
Can you believe how quickly the conference went by? I, for one, can not. After 5 excellent science-y days, SfN draws to a close this afternoon with what will most certainly be a long-remembered highlight: my poster.

On this final video blog, Tideliar and I (attempt to) recount the awesomeness that was our BANTER party on Monday. Wish you were there!

Untitled from Dr Becca on Vimeo.

. . . More
Views: 499 | Comments: 6
Last by Tideliar on Nov 16, 2010, 4:18pm
Sorry to keep you waiting, guys, but we just know it will be worth it!

SfN 2010 Day 3 from Dr Becca on Vimeo.

. . . More
Views: 375 | Comments: 1
Last by chall on Nov 15, 2010, 10:57pm
Hi folks! The newest video from Tideliar and yours truly is uploading to YouTube as we speak, and I promise I'll post it as soon as it's finished. In the meantime, please enjoy my take on Day 2 (Saturday).

I am not what you’d call a morning person. At all. I am often struck with the firm conviction that if I could just sleep until 10 every day, life would be perfect. I’d cast off the shackles that bind me to the Keurig machine, I’d be less grumpy; I’d be a paragon of productivity. Alas, I am not a freelance writer.

But the cool thing about coming to the West Coast when you live on the East Coast is that you are automatically a morning person! It’s brilliant. I woke up at 7 am Saturday feeling totally fine, and I was so happy I’d be able to make one of the career workshops-- “NIH Funding for Your Research, Training, and Career Development,” which started at 8:30.

This workshop…it was only OK. For the most part it was a run-down of all the different funding mechanisms and in what situations each is appropriate, most of which I already knew. One thing that was continu . . . More
Views: 976 | Comments: 20
Last by Tideliar on Nov 15, 2010, 5:32pm
Though neither Tideliar nor I was chosen as an Official SfN Neuroblogger, we are no less dedicated to bringing all of the magic and awesome science of the biggest meeting on the planet to you, our lovely readers. Accordingly, we made this video today. Now, as the meeting doesn't really kick into gear until tomorrow, and as we were a little loopy from a long plane trip and several Bacon Bloody Marys on my hotel rooftop, you may find that this video is a little light on content. Indeed, the majority of our original recording was primarily filled with giggling. However, we managed to scrape this together, which we feel is a nice way to ease you into the meeting before hitting you with the hard science in the coming days. You'll notice that within several hours of meeting for the first time, we have the rapport of a bickering old married couple.
. . . More
Views: 842 | Comments: 8
Last by daniorerio on Nov 13, 2010, 7:06pm
Though I return from nearly every Society for Neuroscience meeting with at least one hilarious story, this year marks the 10th anniversary of what's probably my favorite hilarious story. I'm going to share it with you, not just for entertainment, but for education as well--no matter how giant your meeting is, chances are you're going to bump into people more than once.

In 2000, the SfN Annual Meeting was held in New Orleans. If you've never been to New Orleans you really should try and get there, because it is awesome. The food is amazing, the architecture is incredible, and the history is pretty fascinating. I appreciate these things now, but as a brand new grad student my primary concerns leaned more toward the fact that in certain areas, you were allowed to walk around in the street with a beer in your hand.

Naturally, then, my grad school BFF and I headed straight for Bourbon Street upon arrival. Now, grad BFF and I always had a special knack for getting ourselves into hilarious situations--we were unofficially dubbed the "clown prince and princess" of the department by one of our administrators--but throw revoked open container laws into the mix, and it's pretty much inevitable.

Bourbon Street is lined with 2- and 3-story buildings, almost all of which h . . . More
Views: 771 | Comments: 15
Last by Tideliar on Nov 08, 2010, 2:56pm
Wow, you guys. Just wow. In all my wildest dreams I never imagined this campaign would be so successful! But after nearly a month, LabSpaces is in 4th place in the Science Bloggers for Students Challenge, and it's all because of you! Our pet project, "Oh! Rats!" got fully funded several weeks ago, which means that I'm delivering on my promise to you--an original cocktail inspired by and named after a donor who gave through my Giving Page, and a video of me making said cocktail.

The winner was chosen randomly by a party blind to the identity of those eligible, and then I experimented a bit until I felt I'd come up with a concoction that really channeled the spirit of this winner. The video was made this afternoon with the help of some lovely friends and several rounds of mimosas.

Now, please forgive the low sound quality, as we only had a regular camera's video recorder to work with, plus it was my first time editing a video of any kind, so some of the cuts may be, shall we say, less than smooth. Also there's sort of a gratuitous ass shot because I forgot to get a glass out before starting, but hopefully that won't be too painful. Oh and yes, there are costume changes. I couldn't help myself.

And now.....the . . . More
Views: 331 | Comments: 1
Last by Suzy on Nov 02, 2010, 2:35pm
Hello, you lovely readers with $5 or $10 to spare!

This is your gentle reminder that the Science Bloggers for Students Challenge is still going on, which means that you're still eligible to have a cocktail named after you, and to watch a video of me making that cocktail, right here on LabSpaces! And since, like diamonds, the internet is forever, that means that your name will be immortalized. And associated with booze, no less!

All you have to do is make a donation to one of my Giving Page projects between now and noon on Sunday, Nov 7, and your name goes in the proverbial hat (disclaimer: I will probably not use a real hat to do the drawing). Yes, I know the challenge goes through the 9th, but with the SfN meeting speedily approaching, I've got to get the video done over the weekend, so Sunday it is.

So please, go donate! There are so many really worthwhile projects out there...don't you want kids to have science? And don't you want your own cocktail? Yes to . . . More
Views: 1268 | Comments: 14
Last by JaySeeDub on Nov 01, 2010, 10:26pm
Oh yes, this is happening. In just two weeks time, your b'loved Tideliar and I will be hosting a wee get-together during the Annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting in San Diego. It's a chance for us to meet all of you lovely people, and for you to meet each other, as well! We will drink, we will be merry, and we will most certainly banter.

According to its website, Quality Social is a bar. With food. It's also conveniently located near the Convention Center and has a solid bourbon selection, the importance of which I trust at this point needs no explanation.

While not required, your RSVP is much appreciated. I'll be starting a twitter list of attendees, so if you'd like to be on it and see who your future BFFs are, hop on The Twitter and produce a tweet--any tweet--that contains our special hashtag: #sfn10banter. If you're not yet on the twitter train, this is the perfect opportunity! Not only will you be able to keep abreast of any B.A.N.T.E.R. developments, but there's going to be tons of tweeting happening throug . . . More
Views: 1888 | Comments: 43
Last by Tideliar on Nov 03, 2010, 5:25pm
I may have acute impostor syndrome like 85% of the time, but there's one aspect of academic science in which I'm solidly confident in my talents, and that's the art of the seminar. Giving a seminar combines two things I very much enjoy: public speaking and making something pretty. First you get to make something pretty, and then you get to stand in front of your pretty thing and talk about it! Does life get any better? Well, perhaps.

Having just put together and given a talk for my interview on Monday, all of my PowerPoint skillz were recently put to the test. I was very pleased with the final product and got some lovely feedback, so while it's all fresh in my mind, I thought I'd share some of what I think are the most important considerations when getting ready for a talk. Please add your own in the comments!

1. Tell a story. This is huge, and so few people do it well. Trust me, nobody in your audience is there to witness a data barf-o-rama, and nobody is going to think you're hot shit because you have 150 figures. Instead, they will be confused and/or think you're annoying and probably tune out. Pick your data that genuinely make sense to present together, and build your story around that. Start out by telling them why they shoul . . . More
Views: 472 | Comments: 6
Last by Nikkilina on Oct 22, 2010, 9:30am
Yes, you!!

We (the LabSpaces gang) have some awesome news--Oh Rats! has been fully funded! And it's all thanks to you--our readers--and some anonymous donors, and a couple of my parents' friends. I can't tell you how happy it makes me that these kids are going to get to dissect rats and learn all about how cool anatomy is. I'm a little verklempt.

But I'll hold back the tears to bring you the other good news, which is that I fully plan on fulfilling my end of the deal--a custom-made, named-after-you cocktail, with video--for a donor who went through my Giving Page (parents' friends are ineligible). This is happening.

However! Just because Oh Rats! is funded doesn't mean the cocktail winner will be decided tonight--the Science Bloggers for Science Challenge isn't even half over, for pete's sake! From now until Nov 9, anyone who donates through my Giving Page will be eligible for the most excellent prize of having their very own cocktail. I've a . . . More
Views: 1411 | Comments: 45
Last by Tideliar on Oct 27, 2010, 4:01pm
It's next Monday.

Now, before you go getting all excited, it's for a 2nd post-doc, not a TT job (I think it's a little early for those. [RIGHT???]). But my plan is to treat it like a TT interview dry run, anyway. I mean, I do have to give a formal talk, and I have a full day of interviews, so I imagine the two aren't wholly un-similar. And dammit, I'm going to prove my worth with the confidence and fervor of someone who's ready to be her own boss, even if she's auditioning not to be her own boss.

This lab--at a Classy Institution in the NY tri-state area--would be really good for me. It's definitely a little outside my comfort zone science-wise, but I think I'd learn a ton and get a new perspective on my own research. Commuting would be a bitch, but...doable.

I got my final itinerary yesterday, and I have to admit I'm a little intimidated--I have nine interviews. Nine! How can any one person be expected to talk that much? In addition to the PI I'd originally contacted, I'm meeting with one of his primary collaborator PIs, as well as seven post-docs from seven different labs in the department, many of whom do research that is WAY outside my sphere of knowledge. I'll be honest, I'm not completely sure what the goal is in scheduling meetings with so many other . . . More
Views: 539 | Comments: 12
Last by Candid Engineer on Oct 13, 2010, 5:18pm
We're getting serious here, folks. The Science Bloggers for Students Challenge is in full swing, and LabSpaces is on board, you know what I'm saying? So far, thirteen of us have set up Giving Pages, which you can view all together on our main page here.

While we're doing this as a collective and are of course happy as long as you donate at all, it's only natural that a little of that independent competitive spirit shows itself in situations like this. And so it should come as no surprise, then, that we've resorted to some...creative strategies. To be specific, we're bribing you.

Biochem Belle is offering a plush molecule to one lucky donor should her Giving Page reach $350. And every time her donations made through any LS blogger's page reach a multiple of $500, Disgruntled Julie will bake cookies for someone. Geeka will post an embarrassing picture . . . More
Views: 1663 | Comments: 19
Last by Dr Becca, Ph.D. on Oct 13, 2010, 12:11am
Leuner B, & Gould E (2010). Dendritic Growth in Medial Prefrontal Cortex and Cognitive Flexibility Are Enhanced during the Postpartum Period. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30 (40), 13499-503 PMID: 20926675

. . . More
Views: 498 | Comments: 18
Last by Dr Becca, Ph.D. on Oct 09, 2010, 4:10pm
Happy Friday, everyone!

It's time to take care of a few business items. First and foremost, the LabSpacers are gearing up for Donors Choose!! In case you're unfamiliar, Donors Choose is an organization that helps underprivileged K-12 classrooms get things they need to make learning awesome, and from Oct 10-Nov 9 we'll be participating in the Science Bloggers Challenge! The prize is bragging rights for the blogging collective that raises the most money, and knowledge-fostering tools for kids who want to learn. Everybody wins!! As you'll see if you click the link above or the widget in my right-hand sidebar (under "Awesome Stuff"), there are a staggering number of projects you can help. I've picked just a few for now, but plan on adding more as the weeks go on, once my heart has stopped breaking. I mean, there's a class of 1st graders who need a carpet so they can have story time! If that doesn't move you even the tiniest bit, you might as well officially join the Dark Side. No but seriously, I bet there's at least one of you out there--probably in industry-- . . . More
Views: 813 | Comments: 19
Last by Evie on Oct 08, 2010, 5:41pm
Perhaps I peaked too early. My first paper in grad school was accepted with minor revisions to a NPG journal that let me know soon after I'd sent back the proofs that they'd be putting out a press release. I didn't really know what that meant as far as I was concerned, but felt happy that the higher-ups thought my research would be interesting to the public.

"Becca," my PI warned me, "I don't like that this is your first experience, because it is not usually this easy. Enjoy this, but know that in the future, getting your work out there is going to be much more of a struggle." She is clearly a very smart lady. I, of course, was all "uh-huh?" and waited for the phone to ring. Which it did. A lot.

First there was WebMD, and then a couple of newspapers from my grad school city, a newspaper from a nearby city, a few lesser-known websites, and Ladies' Home Journal (my work happened to be in female rats). I started to feel like Tom Hanks in Splash when he gets to work and his secretary's like, "you had calls today from NBC, CBS, ABC, Newsweek, Sea World, Ripley's Believe It or Not, and Mrs. Paul." Except I didn't have a secretary, obviously.

The highlight of the whole experience came when I got calls from two local . . . More
Views: 4813 | Comments: 18
Last by Dr Becca, Ph.D. on Oct 07, 2010, 11:53am
When we first decided on the theme of "what I'd be doing if not science," I joked that I was going to write about being a Caribbean resort tester. We're talking dream job, right? I later thought maybe I'd take things a tiny bit more seriously and pick a more realistic kind of writer for bizarro Becca, like Metro Section columnist, but my boyfriend scoffed. "Everyone wants to be a writer," he said, "but most people can't be. You should pick something that suits your analytical skills, like an actuary."

AN ACTUARY?!!???!!

No thank you, sir. I'm pretty sure that implicit in this blog assignment is that we choose something we'd actually want to do, no? And thanks to my awesomely supportive parents, I've been instilled with the mentality that I have the potential to succeed at whatever I choose, provided it requires neither athletic prowess nor singing talent. So you know what? I'm going with Caribbean resort tester. I mean, it's someone's job, right? I see no reason it couldn't have been mine, had I but taken a different path after college.

Here is the thing: I am very good at relaxing. I don't do it very often, but when I do, I go whole-hog, as they say. A couple of years ago, J and I found a ridiculous off-season deal on a week at an all-inclusive . . . More
Views: 3767 | Comments: 27
Last by marguerite on Jan 10, 2011, 8:39pm
I can't believe a whole day has gone by and no one else at LabSpaces has jumped on this one.  Well it's mine, all mine!! 

If you've been on the internet at all today, you probably at least saw a mention of the U Mich sabotage case. You did, right?  I mean, my friend who is a lawyer saw it. In case you were not on the internet today, here is the synopsis: a grad student noticed that her stuff was all wonky, and after dealing with the police and whatnot and through hidden cameras, she caught a post-doc in her lab pouring ethanol into her media!!! Are we all shappalled? (why this portmanteau cracks me up so much may be due to the gin. It's completely possible.)

We are not shappalled, right?  It's something we feel is totally within the realm of reality, and that we quietly suspect of that person in our lab who we think doesn't like us, but we don't know why. And seriously, shit doesn't go your way all the time, does it not?  Your western lanes are all weird, o . . . More
Views: 2534 | Comments: 43
Last by Nikkilina on Oct 15, 2010, 8:11am
Do you belong to a gym? If so, do you have "gym friends?" I have a couple of gym friends, but our friendship is strictly limited to the gym. We chat in the locker room or while we're waiting for Abs class to start, but that's it. I mean, let's face it--any friend you make at the gym is a friend you make while sweaty and/or half-naked--it'd be a little awkward if I actually knew their last names or saw them in other contexts. But apparently that's just me, because I overheard two gym friends talking in the locker room today, and they decided to kick their friendship up a notch, to Facebook level. Big move! 

Of course, in order to be friends on Facebook with someone you need some sort of personal information--full name, email, what have you, and so to facilitate the transition, one girl offered the other her card. I found this both awesome and fascinating, because I have never in my life had a card to hand out to strangers while we're both in our underwear. But I kind of want one! 

Every year as the Society for Neuroscience meeting approaches I think that I should maybe have some cards made, and I never do. But this year, when the chances of me genuinely needing a job during the meeting are pretty darn high, I'm thinkin . . . More
Views: 4716 | Comments: 18
Last by antipodean on Sep 20, 2010, 6:19pm
Female Science Professor has a post up that makes me a little...paranoid. In a nutshell, she expresses concern as a PI that looks may be deceiving when it comes to hiring post-docs. In other words, someone's CV might be awesome, but people who've actually worked with this person might secretly let PI know that said post-doc is a lazy sack of poop. Or maybe PI will read into a passing comment made by said post-doc in an email and deduce that the post-doc might be a lazy sack of poop. As someone who is currently searching for a new post-doc home, I am hoping very much not to appear as a lazy sack of poop. I don't think I am a lazy sack of poop, but what if someone somewhere is calling me a lazy sack of poop?

In the comments of FSP's post, Physioprof notes that "I receive multiple e-mails per week from people looking for post-doc positions, and I ignore the vast majority of them."* This also has me worried, but as is PP's wont, the comment is without elaboration. What would make a PI not ig . . . More
Views: 5572 | Comments: 59
Last by Will on Oct 13, 2010, 4:00pm
A few days ago, I got an email from a service I don't at all recall signing up for. It's called CiteAlert, and its job is apparently to notify you when one of your publications has been cited in an Elsevier journal, which is pretty much all of them. All of the journals.

I was of course very pleased with this news, and was also of course very curious as to what extremely intelligent person had read my paper and thought it worthy of a mention. When I clicked through, however, I discovered something troubling. The citation was made by my Science Enemy, and my work was mentioned for the sole purpose of taking a jab. Well, I never!!

My history with Science Enemy goes back around 10 years, when I was presenting my first ever conference poster. She was very interested in my work, and, wanting to be sociable, I casually asked her whose lab she was in. My friendly query was met with an indignant "MINE," and it's there I believe the rivalry began. I of course tried to remedy this faux pas with "Oh, it's just because you look so YOUNG!!" (and truly she did), but my conciliatory words fell on deaf ears; it was on.

Since my post-doc began, our lines of work have come dangerously close together. In fact, due to a certain journal taking . . . More
Views: 3501 | Comments: 10
Last by Texan on Nov 22, 2010, 12:30pm
1. Do not even THINK about keeping a car here, unless you're going to live way the eff out in Queens or something. Because of lease-y type issues in my grad school town, I moved to NYC a month before defending my thesis, and since I had to go back and forth between the two several times a week, I held onto my car. To quote Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Big mistake. Huge. Have you heard of alternate-sides parking? It is The Worst. What it means is that for a couple of hours every other day, you can't have your car on one side of the street because of street cleaning, and on the other days, it's the other side of the street. So you spend the night before circling your block searching futilely for parking on the non-street sweeping side, gradually increasing your radius until you might as well have left your car in grad school town. You do this every day, all for a stupid machine that doesn't so much clean the street as it does spread the dirt and garbage around the street and make a ton of noise. The day I sold my car was one of the happiest days of my life.

2. Ladies, if you're walking down the street and a stranger stops you saying they have "a question about your hair," turn and run. This is not some nice person who wants to give you an unso . . . More
Views: 1288 | Comments: 23
Last by Professor in Training on Sep 01, 2010, 9:57pm
So I'm in the courthouse today doing my civic duty, and as those of you who have also done your civic duty can attest to, there is a lot of free time when doing your civic duty (until you get picked for the motherf$%*ing jury, but that is another story for another blog). But thanks to my exorbitant NYC tax dollars, there is excellent wi-fi in the juror holding room, so I decide to put all that free time to good use and look for a job. No, not a TT job--though I am applying for those, too--my current situation has made a more pressing issue out of finding a second post-doc.

There's someone I'm interested in. His work is lightly related to, but different enough from mine, and I want to send him my CV with a nice personal email describing what I want to learn from working in his lab. There is just one problem--it is not clear to me exactly what goes on in his lab. When I do a PubMed search, his papers are awesome, but are mostly large collaborations involving several labs, and as we are all well aware, papers don't exactly break it down for you re: who did what. So I have the brilliant idea to google him, and see if I can find a lab homepage. Surely there, I'll find a statement about what cutting-edge techniques they currently use to answer what questions, no?

No, b . . . More
Views: 2046 | Comments: 3
Last by Gerty-Z on Aug 30, 2010, 3:14pm
Whether you're a long-time LabSpaces devotee or have only recently stumbled upon our magical bloggy world, we know you're here because you expect nothing but the highest quality science news, advice, and thought-provoking opinion. True to form, we began this week with an intense and important discussion, one into which few other blogging collectives would dare dip even their pinky toes:

But lest you think we do nothing around here but hotly debate incredibly complex and relevant issues, let me assure you that we take ample time as well to help each other out in times of need. For example, when Gerty-Z had a mild new-TT freak-out, Odyssey stepped up and wrote her (and other probably freaking-out n00bs) a great response. So chock-full of wisdom was Odyssey's post that Gerty immediately collected herself and paid it forward with a post bursting with advice for the likes of Dr. O and myself--those on the TT job market. The great ideas there may or may not have then inspired Dr. O to take it another step w . . . More
Views: 705 | Comments: 10
Last by Dr Becca, Ph.D. on Aug 26, 2010, 10:54am
Yesterday was my first day back to the gym after my vacation, aka Lobster Week (like Shark Week, but with eating them!), and boy did it bring the pain. Not just because my Ass & Abs class (yes, it is actually called that) teacher is completely evil--it was so crowded! We were packed in like sardines and I had to use the yucky weights that make your hands smell all metally. Blech. As I was wondering why the class had seemingly doubled in size since the last time I was there, it hit me--the undergrads were back.

Now, don't get me wrong--undergrads are adorable. I hope to teach them someday! But what what their return signifies, other than the end of summer and less room to bust out my moves in hip-hop dance class, is the loss of my favorite writing spot. I wrote two grants and one paper this summer, and I did my best work in the evenings from a bustling coffee shop near one of New York's fine institutions. In the summer it's by no means empty--in fact, it's the quick pace and energy that I think keeps me alert and engaged with what I'm doing. But during the school year this place is an absolute zoo. People in every nook and cranny, on each other's laps, garbage piling up...we're talking fire code violations, here. And as a wise poet once . . . More
Views: 1434 | Comments: 3
Last by Dr. O on Aug 24, 2010, 8:07am
Tell me, can you possibly think of any better way to come crashing down from your vacation high than by spending 6 hrs in bumper-to-bumper traffic during a biblical-proportions rainstorm, followed by 2 hrs on a Metro North train that is literally leaking rainwater on you, after which you wait for half an hour in a sweltering (and also leaking) subway station, only to arrive home to an apartment that was, while you were sunning yourself on golden New England sands, lovingly bespeckled with cat barf?*

No you cannot.

But in order to preserve sanity, we remember the good times, not the bad, yes? Yes! And so, without further ado, mes vacances!

J and I have just returned from Maine, where we stayed in a bustling seaside town whose visitors traditionally consist of equal parts gay men, Quebecois, and New England nuclear families**. It was lovely. The first day it was decidedly not beachy weather, but we consoled ourselves with a trip to the outlets, where I almost bought this:

We also consoled ourselves with beer flights, 2-for-1 oysters, and the first of what would ultimately be several lobster rolls.

The rest of the week was much beachier, and we got into full vacay mode.

On the beach, I read Jonah Lehrer's Prou . . . More
Views: 1237 | Comments: 11
Last by anon on Aug 14, 2010, 2:08pm
As we move into the final weeks of summer, one can just make out a faint buzz as the TT job boards gear up for another hiring cycle. Accordingly, I'm re-vamping my CV and research statement to reflect all the awesomeness that's occurred in '10, and checking the ads on a semi-regular basis. I know it's early, but I'm disheartened to see so far how few of the openings seem to match my interests and skills. I find myself wondering whether I could spin my statement to fit, or whether my time could be better spent. On that note, I thought I'd re-post what I wrote last year on the topic. Enjoy!

I recently went back to my grad school to attend the public thesis defense of one of my good friends. During the pre-talk mingling I chatted with a PI I'd known while I was a student, and when I mentioned that I was job hunting, he said, "Oh, do you know about the job opening at the Fancy Liberal Arts College up the road? That could be great for you." I had not heard about the FLAC job, and was very interested, as it really is one of the top FLACs in the country. But then he said, "be sure when you apply that you make yourself look like a cell biologist, because th . . . More
Views: 787 | Comments: 13
Last by Ecogeofemme on Sep 06, 2010, 11:47am
The timing may be terrible (or perfect, depending on how you see things), but either way I'm about to go on a week-long vacation, my first in two years.

Now, I know some of you are reading that and thinking, Sweet Jeebus, I'd give my left boob/nut/etc for a week-long vacay once a decade! Is she complaining? She'd better not be complaining, while others' internal monologues might sound more like, WTF? Is it even legal not to take a vacation for 2 years?

That is to say, vacation practices vary widely from lab to lab. Mine definitely falls along the more lax end of the spectrum. My boss is way too busy to keep track of what time people come in every day or who's taking what time off when. We get our work done, we tell him when we're planning on going away, and as long as it doesn't conflict with any big experiments, he doesn't care. People in my lab work hard, and I can't think of a single instance in which someone's taken advantage of our laissez-faire 'tude. Case-in-point, yours truly; I didn't feel like I could take time off last summer, so I didn't. Oh sure, a long weekend here or the . . . More
Views: 783 | Comments: 5
Last by Lady Scientist on Aug 07, 2010, 11:16am
If this were 20 years ago, Jason Goldman of Thoughtful Animal would have sent me a letter in the mail that said, "Send a dollar to the person at the top of the list. Cross that person off, put your name at the bottom of the list, and send this to 10 of your friends. Soon you will be receiving many dollars from all over the world!" Or maybe the Friendship Bread one? Did anyone else get that? Like, you were literally putting dough in the mail.

Anyway, thank heavens it's 2010 and all this business happens from the comfort of the interwebs. Apparently Bora started a meme that made its way to Mike the Mad Biologist, who passed it on to Jason, who tagged me. Now, we all know that if you break a chain letter you'll have bad luck for 10 years, and I have had quite enough bad luck in recent days, thank you very much (more on that later, maybe). So without further ado, the meme's rules are as follows:

1. Sum up your blogging motivation, philosophy and experience in exactly 10 words.

[Just like . . . More
Views: 971 | Comments: 10
Last by Dr Becca, Ph.D. on Aug 05, 2010, 9:02pm
Back in February, my mom wrote me the usual email asking what's new in the fabulous lives of me and my very handsome live-in boyfriend J. I replied, "Not too much here. We go to work, we come home, we eat salad, we watch Lost."

It's true. In anticipation of season 6's premier, we were plowing through seasons 1-5 with a focus and determination paralleled only, perhaps, by Joey Chestnut on 4 July. We stayed up late on school nights, we tried to make sense of time travel, and yeah, we ate a lot of salad. We still do!

J is not a scientist, but we both work long days, usually not getting home until 10 or 11. Monday through Friday, we are exhausted. Sometimes we muster the energy to grill up a few shrimp for our salad, but mostly not.

I remember re-reading that sentence that I typed to my mom and thinking Wow, we are like, objectively boring. I've decided, though, that I'm OK with that. For now, we are happy with our routine--at least we get to see each other for a couple of hours every day, existing in a state of objectively boring bliss.

The bliss may be ending soon, though, as it's now been made official that the grant I'm on runs . . . More
Views: 4164 | Comments: 6
Last by Bori on Aug 07, 2010, 9:28pm
I remember being a first-year grad student, sitting and having beers with some other first-year grad students and one of the "cool" PIs. We were talking about papers, and how much we thought some of them sucked. Cool PI smiled, and told us that she, too, had been ready to tear pretty much everything to shreds when she was a grad student and post-doc, but that as she grew older and wiser, she became more thoughtful, less quick to judge. Naturally, we were all quite surprised to hear this--we all expected to do more tearing things to shreds!

Since beginning my post-doc, I get reviewer requests maybe 2 times a year, which is just infrequently enough for me to be sort of flattered and happy about doing it. Cool PI's advice has really stuck with me, and I always try to be balanced in my comments, thinking carefully about the paper and finding something nice to say before considerately listing my concerns.

Sometimes, though? I can't help it. The paper is such absolute shit that the 3rd reviewer** in me starts begging to be let out, and I give in just a teensy bit. In the actual review I remain, to the best of my abilities, a paragon of equanimity and tact. In my head, however, it sounds more like this:

To the editors:

It is beyond comprehens . . . More
Views: 601 | Comments: 4
Last by unbalanced reaction on Aug 02, 2010, 8:35pm
Happy Friday to you! It's a very happy Friday for me, because I've finally done a little decorating--thanks to none other than the inimitable Doctor Zen!!!

I had four banner contest entries, which is four more than I expected to get, so thank you so, so much to Zen, Disgruntled Julie, Genomic Repairman, and my amazing sister for your awesome contributions. Thanks, too, for proving commenter JayZ over at the blogspot page wrong--or right? I really am that egotistical!

Now, it's almost no surprise that Zen won this contest, because Zen is the creator of the excellent Better Posters blog, which all of you should have bookmarked. What is Better Posters about, you ask? Well, think about it this way: how much do most conference posters suck? The answer is "a lot." But in Better Posters, Zen gives you all kinds of helpful design tips for making yours not only eye-catching from a distance, but pleasing to look at and easy to read. He also gives you secret subconscious tips for keeping people's attention, like . . . More
Views: 6704 | Comments: 6
Last by PsiW on Aug 01, 2010, 8:28am
If this post's title has you all "Wha?", have a listen here. Yeah, I'm referencing Lady Gaga, you want to make something of it?

Famous Collaborator Dude/probable future PI (if you've been following along on blogspot) is awesome. He's totally brilliant, and has been incredibly generous with his lab resources and time. He's also really good at emailing me back immediately when I have a question, which is nice, although sometimes he gets back to me so fast (and so without punctuation and capital letters) I wonder if he actually read the thing that I sent to him for comments?

There is one thing, though--I can't read him! Normally picking up on social cues is my forté, in person and even in writing, and it's gotten me far. And by "far" I mean "free stuff," sometimes. I didn't realize how much I rely on it to guide my interpersonal behavior, though, until I met him. He's impenetrable! And it's making me feel like I'm freaking Rainman or something. Not a good feeling.

I think I'm finding all of this especially unnerving because I'm the new kid, you know? . . . More
Views: 1816 | Comments: 4
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Jul 28, 2010, 7:56am
My parents are the ultimate science/art yin and yang--Mom's a crazy smart biomed researcher, while Dad could probably recite the entire Pantone catalogue. You'd think, then, that their offspring would have been these well-rounded überkind, Renaissance Children destined for world domination. Instead, they got one of each of them--my sister: arty, musically inclined, naturally perfect pitch, handy with a paintbrush--and me: nerdy, science-leaning, was on the math team. I can't carry a tune, nor could I re-create the simplest of drawings. But why am I telling you all of this?

It's because I need your help.

While I'm totally loving my new digs here at LabSpaces, I'm looking around my blog page and, well, the walls are a little bare, no? When I was setting things up I noticed that I could upload a banner, and I'd be lying if I told you I immediately knew what that meant. But now that I do know what a banner is, I totally want one! I feel like it could really tie the room together.

And here's where you come in! If you design a banner for me, I will love you forever. Just follow these simple rules:

2. Must say "Fumbling towards tenure track" somewhere.
3. Must look good next to my Dumbo bum avatar.
4. Must be 620px x . . . More
Views: 3425 | Comments: 12
Last by Geeka on Jul 26, 2010, 8:18pm
One day not quite a year ago, I decided quite suddenly that I wanted to keep a blog. I knew nothing of the magical world that is the science blogosphere; I just wanted somewhere to write, though I wasn't immediately sure about what. It occurred to me that my upcoming search for a tenure track job would fit the bill, according to the following course of logic: looking for a job is a process of sorts, and the "process blog" is a thing, insofar as people blog about the process of traveling around the world or the process of renovating their kitchen. And so On the Market: Fumbling Towards Tenure Track was born (we've trimmed the "On the Market" bit here for your convenience), and then my world exploded. In a good way! In case you haven't been following, the links below should help you catch up.

1. First, we back up to 2 years ago, and recount the hilarious tale of a phone interview I had with a Fancy Midwestern College. It did not, shall we say, go optimally.

2. I love New York and how you can get anything you want delivered in the middle of the nigh . . . More