First, I must say that I feel more than a tinge of guilt at my lack of ‘productivity’ on the OT site in recent months. I would like to maintain that it’s my hectic schedule, science, grants, teaching, papers, reviewing–and outside the lab, the recent election to the American Society for Cell Biology’s Public Policy Committee (more on that as I learn the ropes), the imminent upcoming publication of my fourth (lab lit) novel (coming soon, to be published by Big Table Publishing: title “Saving One“). I will reserve a separate future blog for this new work, about which I am extremely excited and proud. By far my best yet, according to my editor…

I can also claim that I have been extremely preoccupied, seriously considering a job offer in the American desert Southwest, and now buying a new home here in Omaha and trying to sell the one we are in. All valid excuses. But really, have I not out-blogged myself in the past few years? Do I even have anything or interest to say any more? Time will tell, I guess.

For now, major renovations go on from the massive water damage caused by a small and insignificant fire. Our laboratory had relatively little damage, compared to others on our floor and on other floors of the 8-story research tower (Durham Research Center 1). So, we were able to continue working most of the time unhindered by the surrounding mess. However, this week it was finally time to fix up the less damaged labs, and it was our turn to shut down the lab for a day or two.


As for now, everything is ‘pending.’ A lovely word, that puts life in the lab on hold. Grants are ‘pending.’ Papers are pending. Reviews of manuscripts are pending. Frozen in time. Glacial. Inching forward with no tangible change. As the pilots call it: a ‘holding pattern.’ In my humble view, a key skill in science these days is to maintain one’s cool and confidence, and to be able to continue to be productive, even in the wake of days, weeks and even months of pending, because that is the essence of a scientific lifestyle today–everything is always pending.

About Steve Caplan

I am a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska where I mentor a group of students, postdoctoral fellows and researchers working on endocytic protein trafficking. My first lablit novel, "Matter Over Mind," is about a biomedical researcher seeking tenure and struggling to overcome the consequences of growing up with a parent suffering from bipolar disorder. Lablit novel #2, "Welcome Home, Sir," published by Anaphora Literary Press, deals with a hypochondriac principal investigator whose service in the army and post-traumatic stress disorder actually prepare him well for academic, but not personal success. Novel #3, "A Degree of Betrayal," is an academic murder mystery. "Saving One" is my most recent novel set at the National Institutes of Health. Now IN PRESS: Today's Curiosity is Tomorrow's Cure: The Case for Basic Biomedical Research (CRC PRESS, 2021). All views expressed are my own, of course--after all, I hate advertising.
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One Response to Pending

  1. Can I assume the new home is an indicator that the move to the warmer end of the USA isn’t happening?

    Hang in there Steve. As for committees… well I’m on at least two that It’s amazing CV padding. I’d say they’re not a good use of my time, but, well, they never use *any* of my time, so no worries.

    Now, back to that grant… 😉

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