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Author: Cynthia McKelvey | Views: 389 | Comments: 0
Hey everyone! I just wanted to write this to explain my absence.

In the last few weeks I left my job at the lab and decided to move back home to Ohio. I did this because I wanted more time to focus on what I really want to do, which is to write about science. The first step in that process, after the move, was to attend the science writer's workshop in Santa Fe, NM. I learned a lot there and came home feeling renewed and inspired. If you are reading this and are interested in getting into science writing yourself, I highly recommend you click that link above and apply to go to the workshop next year.

Over the next year I would like to write a lot more, but hopefully write for publications as well as here on this blog. So I'll be coming back with actual stories and new posts soon! I'm hoping to revise some of my older posts to make them better, too. If you want to stay up to date with me, follow me on twitter @NotesOfRanvier. I'll also be making a page on Facebook soon, too. So be on the look out!

Here are some photos from Santa Fe:



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Author: Jordan Gaines | Views: 2519 | Comments: 3
Last by Mohammadbagher on May 20, 2012, 3:36am
A random sample of Americans was polled a few years ago. The purpose of this poll was to gauge our population's knowledge and beliefs on human life and evolution. Religious beliefs aside, this statement particularly stood out to me:

A quarter of Americans believed that this is true. This absolutely floors me.

But it also has me wondering: do people understand what, exactly, a genetic defect is? Do they understand what DNA is beyond, say, mentionings in the O.J. Simpson case or paternity tests on Maury?

Another poll states that 80% of Americans believe the U.S. should create a "DNA bank" of its citizens. What exactly are they believing in, then?

There is a great divide between the scientific community and the average non-scientific layperson. And just before I enrolled in my Ph.D. program to begin my scientific career, it became clear to me how I'd like to use my knowledge: to educate others, in their terms, about what's going on in their bodies.


There are two truths about which I have been certain for most of my life: I love to write and create, and science is endlessly fascinating.

Back home, a large box is filled to the brim with papers I'd taped together to create books—st . . . More
Author: JaniceF | Views: 594 | Comments: 6
Last by Amanda on Oct 21, 2011, 8:05pm
My officemate knowing of last week's hulabaloo left a piece of yummy German chocolate on my desk. Think hard because it may be as small as a stranger smiling at you, what act of generosity have you been the reciepient of today? 

You know I'll just keep asking until I get something resembling a response....

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Author: JaniceF | Views: 241 | Comments: 0
If you folks are feeling generous, Donor's Choose could still use some help. There is another project that readers could get behind, it's to bring microscopes into the classroom. Its called, Request for Young Scientists' Tools of the Trade.

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Author: JaniceF | Views: 865 | Comments: 2
Last by JaniceF on Oct 14, 2011, 3:16pm


Good grief.

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Author: JaniceF | Views: 864 | Comments: 3
Last by Amanda on Oct 14, 2011, 12:51pm
Well I did it.  I wrote the crappiest piece of shiza manuscript I have in a long time.  But the reason I made myself do this is I have a perfectionism problem.   This was an experiment to see if I could find a way to overcome that challenge. 

Now I have what I like to call the pseudocode for a manuscript.  All I have to do is work on it just 1 paragraph or 1 figure a day (and/or 1hr a day) and pretty soon I'll have a manuscript worth sending to RedBull.  We'll see how it goes.....

So peeps did anyone else do a #madwriting fest?  Do they find it helps or hinders their writing (of any kind!)?

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Author: Nick Fahrenkopf | Views: 4252 | Comments: 1
Last by firsat on Oct 03, 2011, 12:12am
In case you haven’t heard, memristors are a big deal (see NanoLetters, ACS Nano, and Nature). So what are they and why are researchers in academia and industry so interested? Are they going to change life as we know it?

Scientists, at least folks like me working at the intersection of biology and technology, are really interested in memristors because they are a fully electronic component that act (broadly speaking) like neurons. That is, they have the capacity to “remember” based on the current that flows through them. So, just like you might develop muscle memory from touching a hot pan (and hopefully learn to pull your hand away fast) memristors can learn. What caught my eye recently was this article that touted protein based memristors. That is, an electronic component that can mimic biological circuits, using biological molecules. Woah.

So let’s back up. What is a memristor? The typical spiel is that memristors are the fourth fundamental circuit element besides the resistor, capacito . . . More
Author: JaniceF | Views: 1198 | Comments: 1
Last by Suzy on Sep 21, 2011, 8:51pm
Life as a postdoc is hard, but I try harder to remember this.

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Author: JaniceF | Views: 957 | Comments: 4
Last by Bill Feger on Sep 22, 2011, 3:38pm
Made it back home safe.  Got my fellowship application in on time - 2 hrs to spare.  Yeah me! 

Went into the lab today and saw RedBull for the first time in two months. Our conversation went like this"

"Hey RedBull. Just came by to say, hello and I'm back!"

"Oh okay.  Your priority over the next two months is to get that analysis on the Alphabetum done and turned into a manuscript." 

Not even a 'hello how are you' or 'welcome back'. Seriously? Well, at least it's not forever.  In fact, if I have it my way, I could be doing something else next year.
 

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Author: Suzy | Views: 2474 | Comments: 1
Last by jellybabe on Nov 25, 2011, 10:15am
Anyone with strong bioinformatics skills looking for a job with a fantastic energetic new PI at the University of Arizona?

Today I spent time with a friend and new PI at the University of Arizona talking about her metagenomics projects. She's been advertising for an opening for a computational biologist for quite a while.  She tells me that she can't find anyone to fill this position because they are in such high demand and there are so few people who have the skills so they are all getting jobs fast. She is looking for a postdoc or would even support a grad student for their PhD if they wanted to do the work.

Apparently a research associate with bioinformatics expertise can get a job in industry for as much as $90K a year, making it hard to find qualified candidates who want to work in academics labs.

So if you are looking to increase your marketability with a highly valued skill set in popular demand, then computational biology looks to be the way to go.

And if anyone is interested in the position at U of A, email me.

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Author: JaniceF | Views: 556 | Comments: 1
Last by Suzy on Sep 09, 2011, 8:16pm
In a culture where women are already experiencing devasting effects because of the sex ratio bias, the Chinese government goes ahead and does this.

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Author: JaniceF | Views: 1030 | Comments: 1
Last by Suzy on Sep 07, 2011, 5:41pm
This about sums it up. Wouldn't you say?



Thanks to brilliantly smart-ass responses to completely well-meaning signs.

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Author: Suzy | Views: 6842 | Comments: 13
Last by Suzy on Sep 07, 2011, 1:06pm
Last week the biotech community in San Diego suffered a tough blow as many positions were eliminated as part of a plan to save $20 million dollars in the hopes that Life Tech will please their investors. People who lost jobs included veterans with the company, many who were loyal and hard-working to the almighty borg of biotechs, sacrificing their nights, vacations, and weekends to promote the success of an organization that never sleeps.

Life Tech was formed out of a merger of two companies; Carlsbad-based Invitrogen and Foster City-based Applied Biosystems. The acquisition of ABI by Invitrogen in 2008 resulted in the $6.7 billion dollar company renamed Life Technologies, which holds some of the hottest IP in the world, including lucrative patents on PCR, qPCR, and market domination in Human ID/forensics. With a portfolio this powerful, how could they fail?

Life has not reported how many people were sent home last week and they have not updated their numbers on the State Employment Development Department website which tracks company layoffs, according to the . . . More
Author: JaniceF | Views: 2782 | Comments: 5
Last by Spiny Norman on Aug 22, 2011, 11:34pm
Hermitage at Scientopia has a carnival on women in science. But it's sans bebes. She elicited questions and sent them to us. Here are my answers.

1. When you were looking for your post-doctoral position, how (if you knew) did you know that your PI would treat you fairly?

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Author: Nick Fahrenkopf | Views: 1731 | Comments: 0
One of the research scientists at my college forwarded me a Nature article he thought I’d be interested in. This was the same guy who wanted to know how you feed DNA, so I was wary, but I took a look anyways. Now here I am breaking one of my only blogging rules and am writing about my own research. The paper came out in July in Nature titled “An integrated semiconductor device enabling non-optical genome sequencing” – it is open access too so take a look (after you finish reading here of course!)

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Author: JaniceF | Views: 60339 | Comments: 13
Last by GUEST COMMENT on Feb 27, 2012, 9:55pm
This bit of genius is brought to you by Matushiq Sotak.



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Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 2663 | Comments: 3
Last by Dr. Girlfriend on Aug 09, 2011, 3:45pm
For those of you unfamiliar with me, here is a little bit of my background. I recently graduated in December 2010 with my B.S. in Chemistry. I did undergrad research and worked at an environmental lab after college. After about 5 months, I ended up in academia as an organic geochemistry technician at a very large prominent college in Oklahoma.

In the beginning, I was ecstatic and flattered that all my hard work landed me such an awesome position. As the weeks went on, I struggled trying to find my niche in this odd dynamic of a team. Firstly, I am the only American girl in the lab. I did bond with the other male technician and my lab manager but getting to know the postdocs was a whole other ordeal.

See, we get visiting postdocs every 3 weeks. Right now there are 6 here for their 1 year postdoctoralship. This is unfamiliar territory for me because I’ve never heard of that many in one department. They are all foreign as well. However, this is not a problem. I lived in Italy for 6 months and am very respectful and enamored by other cultures. Slowly but surely I won the hearts of the Brazilian, the Pollack and Frenchie. I want to share with you some things I learned regarding foreign colleagues and how my work environment is so much better now.

10. D . . . More
Author: JaniceF | Views: 1195 | Comments: 10
Last by JaniceF on Sep 30, 2011, 7:05pm
Every time I go to a conference, for some reason, I do something that is incredibly embarassing.

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Author: JaniceF | Views: 5987 | Comments: 7
Last by KL on Sep 28, 2011, 11:38am
Today, I met another woman who is a postdoc and has decided to leave academia. That's a total of 5 women now, all of whom were postdocs for somewhere between 1-5yrs and have left or are planning on leaving. And no, it's not always because of family/kids.

I met PostdocXX yesterday at a conference mixer and we immediately hit it off. After the last symposia, we went for drinks and talked and talked or rather she did. I think she was just so grateful to find someone sympathetic to her struggles. She's in a lab with 17 postdocs (50:50 male:female) and 3 grad students. At this conference with her are three postdocs from her lab (2 guys and 1 other gal). Her supervisor is here at the conference and it turns out that he's decided to play hookey and go and see a ball game. The interesting thing is that he's invited four people to join him. Guess who. All boys. And two of them are postdocs from his lab. The other two are colleagues of his that are also both senior faculty. So her and this other female postdoc have been left out. She knows that this is an ideal networking opportunity, but doesn't get the chance to participate because whether by intention or not, she has not been invited. In PostdocXX's words, "I'm just tired of battling the old boys. I don't want to do it anymore. It's not that DrXY is not a good scientist, he's so great. And when I need to talk with him about science, I just email him and he will immediately set up a time. He's got great ideas and is very encouraging, but I don't feel supported, you know. I guess I'm just not ambitious enough." WTF, another one bites the dust, is what I thought.

So on that note, here is the last of my reposts on career trajectories. It's called, "The Glass Ceiling of Academia." and is from April 1st 2010.

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Author: JaniceF | Views: 541 | Comments: 3
Last by jhill on Aug 27, 2011, 7:34am
I realize that I haven't mentioned anything about why I'm chosing certain blogposts to repost here. There isn't any particular chronological order, but more whether these posts relate to some event that happened to me in the day. And no I'm not schizophrenic and I haven't made the decision to switch to industry (really the decision isn't made until there is a job in hand). This post has more to do with the bad decisions that I made during this day.





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