November 12, 2014, Working on a review, presentation, ugly floor and hearing about glycomics! Also, in love with science. Yes!
Afternoon comments: Exhausted, since I didn't sleep. Working on the review again and more presentation work. I know, so exciting! It's nice peaceful work though. And I love the fall leave color changes. In other news, the construction workers have changed the floor in front of part of the lab to be ugly gray and left the other flooring the same white. It looks terrible and piebald. I desperately hope they will not leave us looking like a bum skittles hallway.
Evening, glycomics seminar! Dr. Richard Cummings, chair of biochemistry dept at Emory spoke about glycomics today - the study of sugars attached to proteins - and it was SO fascinating!! Sugars attached to proteins cover the surface of cells and have to do with almost all cellular recognition events between everything. I forgot how important it was! UGA also does a *lot* with glycomics. Emory I found out is a world leader in producing glycomic arrays that can analyze what different sugars molecules bind to. It's a very up and coming field at the frontier of knowledge. I'm definitely going to be keeping tabs on it, to jump on board later, if need be. It's very relevant to all my work, that deals with non-viral delivery mechanisms to cells.
Here's the link to the Emory National Center for Functional Glycomics. And here's a short summary of what glycomics is in layman terms!
Below: Pictures of the ugly floor and of a pretty leaf
Science is my passion, part of the core of my being, what makes up even who I am. I cannot think of myself apart from it. What on earth could be more wonderful than asking the question - why? - learning all the knowledge one can stuff into one's mind (like piling as much gold as one can fit into a box in a cave filled with it, aka The Desolation of Smaug) - and then using it to devise creative solutions to solve problems and BUILD THINGS and DO THINGS that will help people!! It's the highest ecstasy. *sighs contentedly* I don't understand why the whole world doesn't want to be scientists.
November 6, 2014, Updates since last posts and what's coming
Gokul's second year report: On the following Tuesday, my classmate Gokul had his second year report and truly smashed it - it was a pleasure to witness. He spoke calmly, slowly and articulately and fielded the questions like a pro. I'm told his committee also liked his data - he had a lot of it.
Morgan's second year report: Unfortunately, I did not see Morgan's second year report, but Gokul told me she passed as well! I knew she would. That's three down and one left to go for the bio division - Victor Ma, classmate from my lab. I believe his is scheduled for the 24th of Nov.
Warmachine Weekend: Currently, John and I drove up to St. Louis so he can play in the tournaments at Warmachine Weekend, the US championship for Warmachine, a nerd table-top game that's kind of like complicated chess. He's planning on playing in the last chance qualifier, for the last spot in the Invitational - the real championship. It's a big event and loads of people participate; it's a good benchmark to see how high one can get in the rankings. While John plays in the tournaments, I'm going to be doing a lot of sleeping, to get over this cold. Then, I'll also watch the games, cheer them on and hopefully get a little work done. Updates about the games will be posted in the Gaming Blog.
What you can expect on this blog in the coming weeks
Two major things going on right now (also in Science Blog)
2) Oxford / Emory Research Collaboration: I'm setting up weekly Skype meetings with Ms. Harmon at Oxford to hash out plans for collborative research between Oxford freshman / sophomores and Emory grad students. It will start out with me, and then later, my friend Sam in biochemistry dept (also one of my Oxford classmates) mentoring students. Ms. Harmon and I discussed things last night and think the plan has real potential. I'll be creating iterative ideas for research projects for her students to work on this Nov and Dec, and we'll go through them and decide on a couple. Ms. Harmon now knows how to work with E.coli and Oxford has most of the equipment it needs to do very similar work to what I do.
I plan on being a pen pal / long-range mentor for these Oxford students (no more than 2 at a time, with a total probably only of 5 at most - Oxford doesn't have space for much more at once right now). They will write me weekly reports of their work, which can be as little as, "I tried to make a buffer and it failed," or "There were two big tests this week so nothing was done." But, it'll help them get in the habit of summarizing their work (an important skill for grad school and research) as well as give me a chance to be involved / offer thoughts and encouragement, and answer questions about anything from research to classes and scheduling. That way they will have a link to someone at Emory who they know can be a resource.
During the summer, I will take on my pen pal Oxford student myself and teach them techniques that they couldn't learn without more time. They can take this understanding / materials back with them to Oxford in the fall. Ms. Harmon is just as excited as I am! I'm just bursting to get on top of this. We both think it sounds like so much fun. She's already going to be looking for freshman applicants for me for next summer.
Thus is the current news! Will let you know more updates soon!