Thursday, November 14, 2013

I am only as young as the minute is full

Hey Guys,

This post will be a little scattered in thought process mainly because I keep typing and then stopping to run and finish up setting up experiments (they require 20min of gassing time).

Alright we are in November, a little under 3 months into graduate school... I am still in awe of how fast it went by. I also have a confession... I cheated on you guys... and wrote a guest blog post on Women of Science in Sept. You will have to figure out which post is mine (they are all anonymous... I feel like my mannerisms are obvious in my writing though so you shouldn't have too much of a hard time figuring it out). Even if you are not a science gal, I must say that site is great for a lot of guidance in resume writing, grant writing, etc, so please subscribe! Also I joined the Graduate Women of Science (GWIS) here at UMass and hopefully will be creating a blog site for young girls to communicate "science, technology, engineering, and math" (STEM) but we will see, I just told them about edublogs and they need to approve it. And that's all the blog news I got for now.

I'd actually like to make a quick shout out before I type anything else. I don't know if he actually still reads this blog (I know he used to) but Dr. Vaughn Cooper, thank you for everything you taught us in Population Genetics and Molecular Evolution. Teaching us how to write a grant well, having us write blogs to make us think outside the box, reminding us of the importance of supplemental data, how to design and carry out experiments, and how use computer programs... I am pretty sure those two classes alone were the only true valuable courses that molded me to be ready for graduate school. So if you read this, thank you so much for everything, you were more of an influence than you know.

Ok, so I have written and submitted a NSF GRFP and now writing a grant for the Semiconducting Research Corp GFP... which is partially why I have neglected you, the readers that may or may not exist. I hope you at least checked out my TEDx Youth talk from the last post (I would still love feedback on presentation technique if you have any). Also if you haven't, subscribe to this blog I'd like to know I am actually writing to people and not those spam sites!

In the process of adjusting to grad life I have gotten a cat, chopped my hair off, and have been living on my own in an apartment (wow.. it's like a midlife crisis after reading that). It's been quite a ride so far but I have to say I really like it here in Western Mass (Wild Wild West as a friend called it). It's a lot like Durham, NH... I drive by cows to get to work and Northampton is like Portsmouth but without the ocean. Not as many hipsters as I hoped but they got decent music joints like Iron Horse and even UMass's little music cafes are good. When Ethan visits or when my friend Mike (also from UNH) meets up with me, we go exploring. The hiking here is incredible since I'm by the Quabbin Reservoir and Mount Holyoke Range State Park. Also we have found a kava bar, Rebel Cafe, on route 202 which opens back up in the spring... this is my most recent discovery and I am incredibly intrigued. The taverns/bars in Amherst, Belchertown, and Northampton are great: High Horse, McCarthy's Pub, and The Tunnel Bar are just some examples. There is no Hannaford's, so anyone in NH, I hate you and your low price groceries. I am a BigY member to get the deals on bulk items, drive to Atkin's Farm Country Market for produce, and Walmart in Chicopee to get anything else... grocery shopping like a cheap champ my friend. Though there are a lot of farmer's markets that I didn't have a chance to check out so that's next spring. The downtown of Amherst itself is very cute, way more of a downtown than Durham (sorry guys). There always seems to be a town event, it's a very happy connected community which I am a little surprised at since it literally has 5 colleges within this area and I figured the towns people would hate any young person. Nevertheless, it's a warm area as soon as you drive into it. Where I live, Granby, it's more isolated but has some quirks of its own. If you drive by you will see random painted dinosaur statues placed throughout the town. Why? Well, I like the theory that Ethan and I came up with that they are a self proclaimed DinoTown... They had a Dinofest at the church which actually was confusing since the signs said "come celebrate our prehistoric heritage"... I guess I should be happy they are combining science with faith but it was weird. The actual story behind this is that Granby was where the State Fossil was found (yeah, Mass has a State Fossil, I didn't know either). This is my new home folks... I found people weirder than me. My favorite memory was when I stopped at the Dunkin Donuts at the Five Corners and a round table of farmers in white t-shirts in overalls looked at me like I was out of place. Home sweet home.

I have found some great people in the Microbiology Dept that are a blast to hang out with and the professors here are unbelievably friendly and actually want to strike conversations (UNH, I love you but might want to work on that... a few people come to mind that need to learn how to smile). Research has been entertaining. I work with anaerobic bacteria, Geobacter, which is in all honesty a complete pain in the ass to use. I think the applications are fantastic but damn, you trying putting bungs (rubber stoppers) in these 100mL bottles and after the 5th one you lose chunks of skin even with gloves. Also since you are working with anaerobes, everything is with needles... thank god I didn't go into the medical field and we'll leave it at that.

So I decided I want to write a post about a paper regarding the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) system paper we recently read in class, Jinek et al and supplemental data. I chose this because there has been recent news articles on this system such as here. This is aimed to get done by the end of the weekend but I was hoping that people would just take a quick glance. It's a little on the heavier side in science material but I think it was written well enough that the intro is easy to understand and I can break down the rest into laymen's terms. Plus if you don't get the paper the articles help a lot.

As for recipes I have some good ones.... a chicken curry stew, a gomen wat dish, and veggie chili. All are pretty easy to make and I will post that on the next post.

Finally music... I have made a playlist on my Spotify titled "Headphone Narcotic", named after a blog that I know of that posts really phenomenal music, find them here on twitter. Unfortunately they haven't posted much recently and their older site is no longer available but I like giving credit to those that actually found the songs first. I took a couple of their songs ("Counting", "California Sunrise", and "Lofticries") and expanded with some of my own discoveries. You'll definitely know some like "Tennis Court" by Lorde, but overall I love how the beats come together, hopefully you'll feel the same.


The Wire - Haim
Tennis Court - Lorde
Salty Sweet  - MS MR
Lay Your Cards Out - POLICA, Mike Noyce
California Sunrise - Dirty Gold
The Suburbs - Mr Little Jeans
Counting - Autre Ne Veut
Lofticries - Purity Ring