Thursday, August 6, 2009

Oh my god, I'm so sorry I forgot...

...our blogoversary.

However, there's no doubt that this is much better than forgetting my wedding anniversary. I suppose, back in mid-June, that I should have connected the sighs of freshly minted M.D.s and Ph.D.s with the start of my blogging. Instead all I could think was, "Why the hell are these people milling around when I'm rushing to pick up my kids at daycare!"

So more than a year has passed, and though I haven't had much time to write a coherent blog post, I do have time for:

Nat's Bullet Points Highlighting the Last Year!

  • Successfully (more or less) integrated a new family member into the finely tuned machine that was Family Blair (HA!). There are posts aplenty conceived to cover this, from the innate differences between kids, to balancing the demands of two kids with work/science. Sadly, balancing the demands of two kids with work/science means writing these posts doesn't happen. Still though, the productivity hit after the second kid was MUCH more minor than after the first.
  • Finally published a good chunk of my work covering the modulation of a particular TRP channel. This project has been tortuous at times, yet through many difficulties, I stuck with it. The result is somewhat limited in its scope, but the treatment is thorough. Hopefully it will prove useful to those interested.
  • Started collaborating with another group on a cool new project. Things seem to be progressing nicely, and it has been a lot of fun.
  • Actually made some progress in finishing up my final paper thesis work. Or as I like to refer to it, My Own Personal Albatross.
  • Have the prospect of starting another collaboration, that would help me complete some older preliminary work.
  • I have totally regained my calcium imaging mojo, after neglecting those long lost 1997-1999 era skills.
  • Lastly, I finally came to the realization that it's no use to fight against the core of my own personal scientific style. Sure, some parts can (and should) be bent in response to outside considerations. But to fight against the core will lead only to madness.
  • I haven't made sufficient progress on the other side of the story to the TRPC channel regulation. The conceptual framework is basically there, and I've got tons of planned expts, but little time to carry them, or the requisite troubleshooting, out.
  • I didn't complete the manuscript of My Own Personal Albatross. Really though, I blame the daughter. I thought I had 6 more weeks!
  • I haven't done enough to move from heterologous to endogenous systems for studying TRP channels (TRPCs in particular). There are a number of reasons this is tricky, but honestly, that potential trickiness has prevented me from really trying. That's got to change.
  • I definitely haven't been able to get any sort of blogging routine down.
Overall, that's not too bad. Sure, I could always have done a lot more, like learn Esperanto or program my own electrophysiology software in COBOL, but it was a pretty good year.

So what did you accomplish this past year?


Comrade Physioprof said...

I haven't done enough to move from heterologous to endogenous systems for studying TRP channels (TRPCs in particular). There are a number of reasons this is tricky, but honestly, that potential trickiness has prevented me from really trying. That's got to change.

If you want to get a decent tenure-track PI position, your gonna have to go in vivo, holmes.

Nat Blair said...

No doubt CPP. And that was one of the motivations coming from a thesis lab where everything was from native systems to my current locale.

Both of the collaborative projects that are ongoing deal with native neurons, to address exactly this point. And I have a couple of good leads for alternatives in case those don't pan out. Pilot experiments on those are ready to start.

This is comes with a shift from tactical level thinking to more strategic level questions. Honestly my strong suit is the former, but I'm making a concerted effort on the latter.

I can't change what I didn't do in the past, but I sure as hell can change what I focus on in the future.

Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde said...

Love the MOPA designation of the last paper from grad school. Mine's just about to get published.....1.5 years after I graduated. Which I know is not such a long delay all things considered, but it sure felt like it on Revision #5.

And don't talk to me about babies arriving early. I'm at 37 weeks and you better believe I am getting this one last experiment done and into my poster before welcoming any new people into this world!

Nat Blair said...

@DrJMrsH -

Glad to hear you're about to clear the decks of that lab paper. Definitely a great feeling!

As for early babies, not to freak you out or anything, but our first came when my wife was 37 5/7 wks. In fact the day before, she was in lab plating bacteria.

Alternatively, people in the lab have gone to 41 wks before being induced.


Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde said...

Yeah, the awesomest part of IVF is knowing exactly how many weeks you are, isn't it? But hell, I'm at 37 and 3/7ths and I'd been assuming all first babies were late. Maybe time to get the poster in order ;)

Anonymous said...

That's too much!

Anonymous said...

It is useful to try everything in practise anyway and I like that here it's always possible to find something new. :)