Friday, January 30, 2015

A little piece of plastic to help with shots.

A little over a year ago when we took the LittleBear (~3 yrs at the time) in to the doctor, it was time for one of her vaccinations. I was prepared to help distract her for the shot, and was surprised when the doctor didn't ask me to help. Instead she got the shot ready, then pulled out a piece of yellow plastic. As we all watched (me in slight horror that I should be doing something because, right, kids hate shots, and what is going to happen, and is she going to scream, and why aren't you asking me to hold her down??), the doctor pressed the piece of plastic to LittleBear's arm, then with us all watching, gave her the shot, then removed the plastic. No crying. No fighting. No fussing. Our doctor put a bandage on, and we were on our way home.

It. was. awesome.

This amazing bit of plastic is called a "ShotBlocker." It is smooth plastic on one side, and a mini "bed of nails" of plastic on the other. The stimulation from the tiny pieces of plastic confuse the skin, and prevent the body from interpreting the pain of the shot. Fantastic!

This year, for four-year-old shots at a new pediatrician, I took in the ShotBlocker we had purchased, and asked the doctor if we could use it. He said it was no problem, and shared it with his nursing staff. This time, however, I showed Little Bear how it would feel on her skin, then let her practice several times on me. By the time the nurse came with the vaccination, Little Bear was prepared to show how it worked,  the nurse used it without incident, and we went home. This nurse was a little rougher than people in our previous clinic, and it was also three shots this trip, so there were a few tears (literally, a countable number of them), but no fighting, screaming, or extreme distress.

I looked it up, and there is some evidence that ShotBlocker may reduce perceived pain by parents and nurses (with low difficulty of use reported by nurses), but not necessarily lower reported pain by children (see here).

So, after the first use, I was a convert. We've used it a few more times, and I will say, that at the minimum, it doesn't increase pain, and may increase distraction. I'd be really curious to see if it decreases anxiety. I remember the anxiety of feeling the poke being so much worse than the pain. I will have to report back with more data when we go for our next vaccine visit. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Welcome Shawn Rupp, Biology Master's Student

The Wilson Sayres lab welcomes Shawn Rupp as a newly accepted MS student in Biology! 

Shawn Rupp, Biology Master's Student. 
Shawn is a genetic researcher with experience performing RNA-seq analyses. His research interests include studying sex biased expression in reptiles, particularly those that are native to Arizona. Spring 2015-present 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Postdocs: Responsibility is a two-way street

I have responsibilities to my lab members, and my expectations of lab members listed on my website: I just came across this list of responsibilities on the Arizona State University page for postdoctoral scholars, and I love it.

The responsibilities of the postdoctoral scholars are defined:
Responsibilities Of Postdoctoral Scholars
Postdoctoral scholars are expected to carry out the research plan and fulfill the goals established with the supervising faculty member; to assist the faculty member in fulfilling the requirements of the grant, contract or project in a timely manner; to communicate regularly with the faculty member; and to notify the faculty member of any change in research plans. Postdoctoral scholars funded through institutional training grants or fellowships may have additional responsibilities identified by the funding source.

And, just as important, so too are the responsibilities of the supervising faculty described:
Responsibilities Of The Supervising Faculty MemberThe supervising faculty member is responsible for developing, in concert with the postdoctoral scholar, a plan of research and the goals, objectives and expectations of the training program. Faculty supervisors are expected to regularly and frequently communicate with postdoctoral scholars; provide oral or written evaluations as they deem appropriate; and offer mentoring, including career advice and job placement assistance. The faculty mentor should also ensure that postdoctoral scholars have an environment adequate for fulfilling their responsibilities.
It is just so nice to see these bi-directional responsibilities also formalized at the University level. Way to go ASU!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Welcome Kimberly Olney, Research Technician

The Wilson Sayres lab welcomes Kimberly Olney as a Research Technician!

Kimberly Olney, BS, Research Technician. Biologist with experience in data analysis and laboratory procedures. Research practice in investigating molecular phylogenetics to improve taxonomic descriptions between populations and species.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Population genomics of sex chromosome evolution at ASHG 2014

In the Fall I presented a talk entitled, Population genomics of sex chromosome evolution at the 2014 meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG). I put the slides up on figshare:

Y'know what the best part about putting slides up on figshare? When someone asks if I'm willing to share my slides, I can easily say, "yes!" and point them to the figshare link.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Welcome Pooja Narang, Assistant Research Scientist

The Wilson Sayres lab welcomes Dr. Pooja Narang as an Assistant Research Scientist!

Pooja received her PhD degree from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India in the field of Computational Chemistry. She has four years of postdoctoral research experience in computational data-analysis, bioinformatics, molecular modeling and in silico drug discovery. Her research interests include understanding the male mutation bias in mammals and understanding evolution of sex chromosomes and their relationship to diseases like cancerDec 2014-present