Monday, October 29, 2012

It is so easy to fall behind

I've been really excited to get started on several different projects. The great thing about having different projects is that there is always something to work on, and leaves me without an excuse about boredom (because I can just switch projects). The bad thing about having so many projects (and not having a lab of my own yet) is that sometimes everything needs your attention at the same time. In a way, being a scientist is like being part of a family. Some projects are constantly begging for attention, others sit quietly and wait for you to play with them. And then, sometimes one project slipped while running around the corner to avoid naptime and needs you to tend its bumped head, while the other project is nudging your arm while whining to be let out to pee, and yet another just wants you to come say hello because you've both been working long days and it seems like you never just enjoy each other's company anymore. 

Uh, projects... right. 

So, I'm in the position of having a few projects that I'm very excited about, and wondering when I'm going to find the time to complete them all. One step at a time, I guess. That's what keeps me on track. I make small manageable goals, and eventually they'll all get done.

Last night I finished some data parsing and sent it off to my collaborator in Denmark. It is for a project where we're assessing the amount of allele-specific expression in the genome. All autosomal genes have two copies, and generally scientists think that each copy gets expressed at the same level (50% from copy 1 and 50% from copy 2), but there is evidence that sometimes one copy, or allele, is expressed much higher (or lower) than the other copy. This is what we call allele-specific expression (ASE), and together we are working to assess ASE, while accounting for technical variance in the data.

I'm also working on some re-analysis for a manuscript studying diversity on the non-sex chromosomes (autosomes), and the sex chromosomes (X and Y). Our paper was rejected after nearly 11 weeks in review, but I think we have a good chance of acceptance after making some small additions. I'll also be giving a talk about this work at the upcoming ASHG meeting, and am working on putting my talk together.

A third project I'm working on is analyzing evolutionary strata across the whole X chromosome in mammals, starting with humans. I am collaborating with people in Texas on this project, and was fortunate to meet with them in person a little over a week ago. It is sometimes easier to stay focused, when you know your collaborator (or PI, or student) might stop by at any given moment, but, for now, I'm staying on track.

I'm also looking forward to doings some raw RNAseq analysis in humans, studying pig genomes, and looking at expression variation within and between bird species.

Now, back to work!


Amit said...
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Amit said...

Off topic, but I signed up for this conference and saw that RN is a speaker.
Anyone else from your group attending? Enjoy ASHG!

mathbionerd said...

I don't know if anyone else is going to that. But, it looks really interesting.