Friday, December 14, 2012

Talking about communicating science

I am very excited! I am going to attend a conference on communicating Science to the public. The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent;, in Durham, North Carolina, has committed financial support and resources for a three-day catalysis meeting devoted to this project.

Nothing like a meeting (and deadlines) to motivate me to write more about science.

The only problem is that I'm too busy doing science to write about it!! I'd say that there will be a break coming up, but I'm trying to get some analysis done for a collaborator with a grant deadline the first week of February. That means she needs the results by early January... in just a few weeks!!

The wonderful thing is that I don't really feel pressure (yet), because the project, and analysis is just so interesting. So with that, back to it!!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thank you, Lloyd Huck

Near the completion of my PhD, I was in the office, turning in some paperwork when one of the administrative assistants got my attention to point out the man leaving the office. His name was J. Lloyd Huck, the person who made the Huck Institutes for Life Sciences, and my degree in Bioinformatics and Genomics, possible. 

Being me, I sat down my papers, and awkwardly walked/jogged up to just a few steps behind him then slowed because I didn't have any clue what to say. He was a fast walker, and we'd be to the main street before I knew it, so I took a breath, two large steps and loudly said, "excuse me".  I apologized for interrupting him, and clumsily explained who I was, and thanked him for supporting the sciences. I remember it as being pretty ungraceful in my mind, so I can only imagine what he thought of the bumbling grad student in front of him. Still, he was gracious, and polite, and then on his way.

Well, Lloyd Huck, at 90 years old, died this week in State College. 

Memorial by the Huck Institute: Here.
Obituary from Penn State: Here.

I hope that his family and friends have all of the love and support they need. I have one small memory of him in person, but will have a lifetime knowing that his generosity touched my life, and gave me the opportunity to pursue my life's passion in scientific research.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hello December

It's been a pretty busy few weeks. We traveled to Nebraska where husband gave a talk at the University of Nebraksa-Lincoln, and I talked at UNL and Creighton. It was a great trip, and I was very impressed with both schools. I was surprised by how different the schools looked to me now (as a postdoc, and perhaps potential career opportunity) versus when I was an undergraduate student. 

Then, we got back and started getting back into the research groove, only to find out on Monday that our daycare is closing at the end of the month, so we have two weeks (because daycares close for the end of the year) to find a new daycare for January.

There is lots of good news, too! 
- The last paper from my thesis was accepted for publication (write-up coming soon).
- A manuscript from research done during my postdoc (selection on the Y chromosome) is out for review.
- I received a totally new dataset (RNAseq from humans with Rheumatoid Arthritis) to analyze, and have been learning how to interact with the newest computational cluster on campus, as well as run new software. So exciting!!
- Another postdoc and I are working on some cool ideas for a new project together looking at convergent evolution.
- I'm very positive that a manuscript studying the evolution of strata on the sex chromosomes will be ready to submit by the end of the month. 
- And many other good things to come.