Yes, by this horribly long and ridiculous title, one can tell that I am tired. The "sense police" should probably take away my license to write immediately. I think this is one of the most random, disjointed posts I've written in a while. I will hope that makes it somehow mildly amusing, rather than completely negating its value.
I’m completely wiped out, but I’m still able to write, so far. I’ll summarize a few funny points from the week – no promises on the coherence though. This probably will include random tangents that then jerk themselves back on track. Be warned.
Dr. Weinert’s class today – B12 chemistry
In bioorganic today, we heard about the reactions that vitamin B12 carries out – it does rearrangements. It can rearrange whole groups of atoms and all it requires is cobalt and a hydrogen in the substrate – nothing else. Pretty interesting.
Then we went on to PLP chemistry. I wish I could tell you more about that, but my mind kept drifting. I was really tired and didn’t hear much of the lecture. I’ll try to compile my notes later.
Morgan’s Thoughts on the Salaita lab
I asked Morgan – SO! How did the discussion with Dr. Salaita go? She was talking to him yesterday about the project she was going to work on in her rotation.
She’ll be doing the optogenetics project – inserting an elastin mimetic peptide in a protein, which can shrink upon induction of heat, resulting in shrinking the size of the protein, leading to measurable forces. […] I apologize for that absolute slaughtering of a summary of that project. I don’t know much about it – well – it involves a bound heme – that’s about the only other thing I know, and a few other random facts I’m too tired to coalesce in my head. I’ll give a proper description later. Daniel said that Nature Methods 2011 featured optogenetics – I’ll have to take a look at that – though the way Khalid is using it is nothing like what has been previously done – always a good thing.
She had some GREAT questions, I thought, that she was planning to ask. I told her so. I’d thought about some of the things she was thinking about as well, because someone in the Conticello lab mentioned it to me.
So far, she’s completely on the fence about the lab she’ll join – thoroughly neutral. But I can detect that she could be a potential Salaita lab candidate. She’s leaning that way. She just doesn’t know it yet.
She said she enjoyed her time in the Dyer lab and Dr. Dyer was nice, but this project in the Salaita lab was very intellectually stimulating, which she really enjoyed – and she was looking forward to giving it a try. Morgan has the exact same view that I do about liking rational design schemes over combinatorial methods, despite the fact that combinatorial methods are often the only way to go, work well and produce results. That’s the approach she enjoys and would always prefer to take. Me too. I seconded that whole heartedly and we talked about that for a while, since Dr. Conticello recently mentioned this very subject in lecture. It’s way more fun. And someone needs to advance that direction of things. I told her that was why I didn’t rotate with Lutz, and she nodded rather dejectedly – Lutz is her third rotation.
I would really be happy if Morgan were to join the Salaita lab! I’ll definitely encourage that but I won’t be pushy. That never works. I make no secret of where my loyalties lie, so she already knows I’m biased and isn’t offended by it. She says it must be nice to be so sure. That’s true. It is. Unexpected and nice both.
I prefer Morgan over Victor, for several reasons, all of them probably silly. I relate to her better. She’s also from Lawrenceville, actually, but the Collins Hill side. On that subject, Keon is from Lawrenceville too and much closer – he actually lives about five minutes from John and I and also commutes. How weird is that! So many Lawrencevillians!
I also like how she thinks. She’s very thoughtful and is REALLY smart. She was the one who saved most of our butts in our study group on the first Weinert homework problem number three I think it was – Gokul will attest. She seems to me as if she's very thorough, measured, slow and careful about how she goes about tackling problems, leaving no stone unturned, giving each piece of information careful thought and asking precise questions. If I had to pick something I preferred in research, it would be thoroughness rather than speed. Speed is nice … but only if it’s coupled with thoroughness first and careful thought. So really, it’s secondary.
Victor is also amazing – he just has a different style – I heard a rumor that he has nearly fifteen publications. I have no idea how he has so many! I have to ask him that and see whether it’s true and how he was able to achieve this. However, from observation, he doesn’t seem very thorough or careful to me and he’s messy – though not the messiest I’ve seen. (The messiest lab I ever saw was at GA Tech.) There are lots of famous messy scientists – he’ll probably be one of them. It’s just a pet peeve of mine and makes me itch. I asked him why he’s also rotating with Dr. Scarborough and he said it was because he’d done some inorganic research before. I asked him if he liked it and he said he didn’t know.
So overall, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that Morgan will stay with Salaita lab and maybe Victor will change his mind. I’d love to have her as a colleague. But my notion of why I think this is somewhat illogical, in part. Ah well.
Finishing the NSF proposal edits
To my surprise, I was able to push out the personal essay edits after the class and overall, was pretty happy with them! I didn’t expect it to go so quickly. I thank the Lord for that. It’s obvious to me that He answered my prayers for helping me write these essays. If I write, and it’s just me and nothing else – it sounds like crap – but it’s true – all first drafts pretty much sound like crap. I had nine pages of notes for the personal essay originally that were all just a bunch of free form written CRAP to help me think about how I thought about graduate school. Then it started coming together. I’ve been praying about both of these essays for probably three months and thinking about them for about as long.
Back in May, Dr. Lynn started me thinking about why I was in graduate school and trying to really put that into words and understand it – he’s big on that. That discussion with him actually really helped me write the essay in the end, I think. I’ve been synthesizing ideas for that since that conversation, just because, I *wanted to know* what graduate school was supposed to be about, for philosophical reasons. Being a scholar and - what is a scholar? Ahhh, such a wonderful philosophical tangent good for pages upon pages of writing. I don't think I've fully realized those thoughts yet, but they're marinating.
Why is the NSF graduate research fellowship a good thing to win?
If you get this fellowship, NSF funds the applicant’s salary three years – so you’re free to your professor – and you make more money. Emory’s stipend is something like 25-27k, I forget precisely, but this would be 32k each year. And, they apparently also pay the school fees each semester, according to Allisandra in the Lynn lab. And, Emory gets 12k a year as well extra, just because. So, that’s why this is a good thing. It makes one desirable for any lab to take on because they don’t have to pay you. And it’s nice for the lab to have extra money.
Having to pay less money is like getting more money. It’s like throwing up a shield on someone, as a healer in TOR. A shield is as good as a heal, because you’re healing LESS. It’s really the same thing, inverted. Ha ha. I couldn’t resist the nerd gamer example, sorry.
Someday, I shall poke at TOR again. But I feel like, when I do something, I go all in, and being online gaming would just divide my mind in too many directions right now. I only have room to be passionate about 1-2 things at a time. I wish that weren’t true, so I could keep in touch with my TOR friends, but unfortunately it is, and I don’t know how to be different at present.
Hertz bit the dust
I wanted to also apply to Hertz, per Ms. Harmon’s recommendation, but I was an idiot and forgot the deadline was today, rather than AFTER the NSF fellowship. […] Oooops. *headdesk* Such an idiot. Oh well. No use crying over spilled milk.
Daniel showed me more things on Adobe Illustrator and stories of its awesomeness
I was trying to fix my figure, so I asked Daniel about it – he fixed the gradient problem I had in two clicks – it was because I had a fill on one of the layers that should have been made null instead, or something.
Then later, I was trying to remember what I did before to add my protein to the particle but I couldn’t remember. I exclaimed disgustedly about it and went to Daniel, because I was pretty sure there was an easier way to do it in Adobe Illustrator. I was trying to use Power Point and Paint for it. Daniel was expecting me, having heard my exclamation.
I love that Daniel doesn’t mind answering so many questions. He even gives me extra advice I don’t need but that’s useful! He told me to make sure to let him know if free advice bothered me or he said too much – but the one time he said that I felt like I should give him a crazy look – are you kidding?? It’s like someone giving me FREE COOKIES!!
He showed me how to import the picture of my protein by dragging it from the folder into the program and it just magically appears there! That reminds me of ImageJ. Before ImageJ, I’d never seen a program that did this before. He showed me how to use photoshop – the really professional kind of photoshop I’ve only ever dreamed about using (I love photoshop but mine is SO oldddddd) – to make the background of my protein clear instead of white, so it wouldn’t block the design of the nanoparticle I was trying to “attach” it to. While showing me this, he noted that I had been attempting to do something with Paint again and said, “Tsk, tsk, tsk. I’m *disappointed.*” He he he he. I laughed about that.
THEN – the best part – Daniel showed me something truly great. He just randomly gave me advice about file attaching and embedding into your image – more wonderful random free advice. I don’t remember all of his free advice, but this was particularly important – on everything important I take notes. Actually, I take notes on most everything anyway.
Morgan came to listen too. I told her – YES! ALWAYS TALK TO DANIEL, HE’S THE MOUNTAIN OF WONDERFUL ADVICE! And Daniel said, he wouldn’t go that far. Ha ha. That’s ok. Daniel can be ignorant of his awesomeness if he wants to be. I swear by this. And Morgan has been talking to Daniel a lot. *nods with approval* She has to for her project, but still – I’m glad of that. It’s always a good thing.
Oh yes, back to my point. Good grief, I’m tired. So, Daniel showed us how you could have files attached to your images in a document and changing the source image file would change the color / formatting of all the files in your documents! I thought it was stupid at first, but then I saw how it was really a completely genius notion once he explained it to me.
AND! *wide eyes*
He showed me how to align objects perfectly with other objects in your image! [...]
*falls to floor in a dead faint of pure happiness*
I literally teared up – Daniel has no idea how happy this made me – actually, I think he eventually got an idea by my continued and repeated exclamations and was giving me a, “Good grief, you really are crazy,” look. This program is PERFECT for me. I think I’m in love. YESSSSSS. It propagates my OCD and enables it to become as truly as obsessive as it desires. Now I can line things up perfectly with other things – something that always makes me itch feverously. I was eyeing my alignment with a pencil earlier. O.o *does circles of dances in ecstasy around Adobe Illustrator*
FIN – earlier than expected – more to come tomorrow when I can think again
I wanted to talk about what I discussed with Dr. Lynn, but I’m just too tired, I don’t think I can do it. That says something about my tiredness, believe me, because I was looking forward to writing about it. I’ll try to write about it tomorrow. But, there’s a lot of scary deadlines I have to make sure I don’t miss – orgo HW to grade, papers to read, Conticello midterm, Conticello HW set, Weinert proposal, second Weinert HW set … let’s see … I think that’s it. Got to talk to people in the Lynn lab about the research ideas. Ok yes. But, I got to go to bed now.
Sorry, this post is really quite crappy and diffuse. I got done with the edits this afternoon about 3 p.m. and my body said “no” and shutdown. Last night was the first good night sleep I had, but it was only four hours. I woke up at 5:30 semi-consciously thinking about the conversion of L to D amino acids in a peptide. I have no idea why I was thinking that. But it IS a fascinating discussion. Dr. Conticello talked about that and rational protein design last Th. MAN. I wish I had been able to pay better attention – that was one of the most fascinating classes ever. I was just worrying at the time, so I couldn’t think straight. But what I worried over didn’t materialize and it was all for not and I should have listened to him better, because that lecture was so cool. I do really like chirality.
Bed. Must. Sleep. *clunk*