Latest posts

I sense a problem with undergraduate education

A lot has been said about job prospects of biomedical graduate students and the ever-declining percentage of Ph.D. graduates who are ultimately able to find academic faculty positions. Indeed, the importance of exposing graduate students to a variety of scientific career options has become recognized in recent years. Many graduate programs, includi Continue reading

Posted in academia, biomedical researcher, career, critical thinking, education, grades, graduate education, graduate program, GRE, IDP, individual development plan, Occam's underwear, Ph.D., PhD, Research, researcher, science, science career, science careers, science jobs, student, students, undergraduate, undergraduate education, undergraduate students | Comments Off

Why Athletics Resembles Academia

Today it’s four years exactly since my first blogpost appeared. Four years of having fun writing about different sorts of things: academic life, committee work and membership, the issues facing women and the joys and frustrations of working at disciplinary interfaces. I have been encouraged by the comments I receive in person, on Twitter and Continue reading

Posted in academia, advice, careers, luck | Comments Off

Good bye my old friend

I met Rick Bigbee, like many people met Rick Bigbee, in Long Creek, South Carolina. He was the head guide for Wildwater, Ltd on the Chattooga River, I was a new guide, intimidated and more than a tiny bit scared. Rick made me feel like I belonged. In the early days, he was my daily cheerleader. He always believed I could do it. Continue reading

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On the Email Mountain

August is a quiet month on the email front. Few committee meetings are occurring to clog up the inbox with their multiple attachments of papers. Plus many people are away from their own computers during the school holidays and they probably don’t want to be caught sneaking peeks at their smart phones or tossing off a quick response when they& Continue reading

Posted in August, inbox, language, Science Culture | Comments Off

On biological modelling

You can take the rat out of the lab…

mRNA in search of a ribosome

… but you can’t complete translation without a ribosome.

Posted in biological modelling, London, Nonsense, science, Silliness | Comments Off

Transparency versus Diversity

Within the EU, Commissioner Neelie Kroes is leading the push to have a Commission with a female contingent that is at least beginning to be representative of the population. Her call for #TenOrMore women commissioners doesn’t sound unreasonable: it would still only amount to around 30% of them and is roughly the composition of José Manuel Bar Continue reading

Posted in committee membership, diversity, Equality, nomination, Science Culture, Women in science | Comments Off

Accelerate the progress of your research by using this one weird old tip!

(Photo and title by Sonja Babovic; used with her permission)

Other geeky things that made me laugh recently:

Posted in grant wrangling, photos, science, Silliness | Comments Off

It’s time to take responsibility – why the editor of The Lancet should resign

There are a lot of people, governments, and organizations who need to step up and take responsibility. But in this piece about taking responsibility, I call on Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, the UK’s premier medical journal, to apologize and resign. If publishing the deceitful and fallacious  “Open letter to the people o Continue reading

Posted in "open letter to the people of Gaza, 9-11, academic boycott, deceit, doctors, editor, Gaza, Hamas, Interpal, Israel, Lancet Declaration of Interests Policy, lies, Manduca, Palestine, political agenda, Research, RESIGN!, Richard Horton, science, scientists, terror, terrorist, The Lancet | Comments Off

In which I receive a gift

What do you buy the female scientist who has everything?

A few days ago I noticed a news clip in the London Evening Standard, mentioning that a new line of Lego featuring women researchers had sold out within hours of being offered for purchase online.

Women Scientist Lego hits news

Continue reading
Posted in Silliness, Stereotypes, The profession of science, Women in science | Comments Off

Mulling it Over

Writing. Putting finger to keyboard. Churning out the thesis (or paper or grant proposal). This week’s cartoon in the THE reflected on this challenge of thesis-writing, ending with the punchline ‘Writing: the most impossible short distance in the history of humanity’ despite everything being in the poor student’s head. It is Continue reading

Posted in Communicating Science, PhD thesis, prose, Science Culture, Writing | Comments Off

Why a talented researcher – but a naive saleswoman – had to resort to #crowdfunding

I went and wrote, go ahead, launch the campaign – unprepared, at the end of July. That said, we ARE going to succeed in raising the money we so desperately need to make concrete things happen in our lab: registering the very many families who have been willing to participate in this research for years now, and processing their biological samp Continue reading

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It’s the Individual Who Makes a Difference

Mentors are often highlighted as being crucial to success. People who look out for you, advise you when you’re feeling confused or lost, who point you towards opportunities you might otherwise have missed and who are there to offer encouragement whenever the going gets tough. Mentoring is typically a long-term relationship, often going on thr Continue reading

Posted in Lord (Jack) Lewis, mentoring, parenting, Science Culture | Comments Off

Marooned on the Island

Not a desert island, mind you. Oh no – this “island” is a thin strip of land between pit lane and the front straight, the province of a select few photographers who absolutely need to take photographs of cars in front of key Toronto landmarks – the Princes’ Gate and the CN Tower – and of pit stops with grandstand Continue reading

Posted in bloody weather, Hobbies, Honda Indy Toronto, Photography, racing, rain | Comments Off

That’s the way science works

There have been a lot of articles published in newspapers around the world discussing a recent PLoS ONE paper published on July 23 by Harris and Provoust entitled “Jealousy in Dogs.”

Ginger, in a reflective, non-jealous mode

For those who may not have seen the paper or the flurry of newspaper articles about the paper and its findings, I will Continue reading

Posted in animal behavior, behavior, canine, dog, dog sense, dogs, impact, jealousy, PLOS ONE, Research, science, Scientific method | Comments Off

Parental Leave and Sexism

Parental Leave and Sexism

There’s been a bit of a twitterstorm about the story of a ‘techie mom’ who overheard a conversation between two presumed IBM executives on the subject of hiring women. Their view was, don’t do it: they have the temerity to take time off to have children. Written up in a more detail as a blog, the co Continue reading

Posted in Equality, maternityleave, misogyny, paternity leave, techie, Women in science | Comments Off