Tag Archives: conferences

The Ramen Diaries Part 7: Or Twitter, a cautionary tale

So if you’ve read the last few posts then you will know by now that I spent last week at a big genomics conference in San Diego, called PAG. You’ll also know that, while I was there, I encountered some people who walked out of talks, yawned and slept their way through talks, and just plain talked through them. Continue reading

The Ramen Diaries, Part 6: Where I work on a Sunday

When I started Grad School, two of my best undergraduate friends and plenty of acquaintances were already at the end of their first years of a PhD. I think just about everyone from my circle of friends who went directly to PhD without going via a Masters stayed at our alma mater (which, I suppose makes sense: somebody who already knows you and your work is more likely to take a chance on you, and somebody who has already found a lab they want to work in is more likely to take time out of studying for finals to apply). Continue reading

Starting Grad School: Find the silver lining

Welcome to Grad School, the place where motivation goes to die. 

Seriously though, I procrastinate. I was never much of a procrastinater before I started my postgraduate studies. Now, crippling indecision and a general malaise caused by my lack of success cause me to while away the morning reading papers on subjects that aren’t really related to mine and drinking endless cups of tea. It’s not uncommon for it to be 12 before I start lab work, even if I’ve been in by 9am. I tell myself that this is fine because I have to read and write some time, but really I’m just putting off the inevitable.

Continue reading


Why do we always want what we can’t have? Over a couple of months of furious labwork I successfully blogged at least every other day. While waiting over a week for some Brilliant III to surface so I could crack … Continue reading

#summergoals: End of Week 1

At the end of last week I wrote a post about my #summergoals: aka the baking biologist’s attempt to be organised, and not have her life taken over by generic moping, procrastination, and political machinations. (Did I mention I’m an evil genius?)

As week 1 draws to a close, it seems sensible to establish how I’m doing so far (aka give myself a kick up the behind).

Continue reading

#summergoals: How to survive July and August

At some stage yesterday, one of my Tweeps posted this article by Flora Poste about how to survive the summer without the structure of undergraduate teaching and other regular commitments to keep us in check. I think this is a topic I need to think about more, especially at the moment. I have a lot of … stuff … on my plate right now, and therefore not much lab work is getting done because I am easily distracted by a) moping about Alex, b) trying to fight fire in other quarters and c) faffing on the internet.  And I suffer from lab stage fright. The longer I go without doing things, the less gets done. And so now, after two weeks of moving house and giving a conference talk and … this week … I am getting to full on procrastinating-so-I-don’t-have-to-face-the-lab stage.

My friends and associates would have you believe that I am extraordinarily busy and organised. Little do they know that this is because I am incapable of getting anything done without structure. At school, university and in my first job I was superbly motivated and competent because I was busy all the time. As a PhD student I can regularly waste entire days achieving very little. At my best, I work incredibly efficiently by having every hour of the day scheduled: something that is very hard to do with a lab-based PhD!

So while my qPCR is running, and I am stuck here on a Friday afternoon while most of the lab skives off (PI is elsewhere today) here is my attempt to regulate myself for the next couple of weeks. The time scales are specific because I am really good at putting stuff off.

Continue reading

qPCR standard curve FAIL

Several months ago I agreed to give a talk next Tuesday. At the time it seemed a given that by then I would have some beautiful qPCR data. And then my minus 80 freezer died, taking with it all of my vital tissue samples, which took a further 6 weeks to regrow before I could even think about RNA extractions and DNase treating and cDNA synthesis and qPCR.

Continue reading