Tag Archives: phd

big right turn: analysis of mitochondria

I’ve been running capillary electrophoresis for days looking for a particular chemical reaction. I never found it.In the interest of getting something useful before I leave, I’m switching away from the synaptic vesicle (SV), the subject of my work to date. I have a great deal of emotional attachment to the SV. It’s hard to let go.The SV is what I’ve worked for these last 5 years. The mitochondrion is great, but I know little about it.

To change gears at this stage is terrifying. I’ve never made such a huge turn with so little time to get the task done. We’ll see how it goes. I need to prepare mitochondria, label them, and see what’s inside today. It’s been done, I’m sure, but I should also get some standards and more reagent for the stuff we expect to see inside. It’s going to be exciting!

Here’s something amusing: this is what I first saw in my sample. You want to make sense of that? Because I did. It was Thrilling.

There are lots of different kinds of grad school experiences. There are ones where the goal is to make it work. Other grad students know before starting that it will work but they don’t know until after what it means. In my line of work, we’re contending with both.

If you are a prospective grad student looking for a research program, I offer this advice: figure out which one you like before you start. Then make sure the project you are working on is the one you prefer. Only attempt a project that requires both if you are insane.


the next month's topic, stress, personal life, and a strange article about biomimetics

Dear kind reader,

Thank you for being here. This is a strange time in the life of your host, myself, Peter. I am trying to get the last data for my dissertation. I have 21 days, if I include today which is technically tomorrow. So I won’t be sleeping much in the foreseeable future. Rather than track my interests in the scientific literature, I’m going to chronicle for you the life of a Ph.D candidate in its pupal (pupil?) stages. Shortly I will metamorphose, but until then, stay tuned.

Today, I got up at 7:30 AM and went to the dentist. I got back at 3:30PM and felt a desperate need to acquire a glue stick. I wanted to stick into my notebook a printout of a procedure I wanted to run. It’s the repeat of the procedure I spend 40 hours on this long holiday weekend. And I need it to be stuck in my notebook neatly and securely. So I got a glue stick. And Coffee. The Coffee had nothing to do with sticking things in my notebook.

The 10 cups of coffee may have something to do with the violent diarrhea at 5:00, however. That and the stress.

In any case, I got the procedure into my notebook, and then I had to actually run it. I’m still running (AT 12:43 AM!) it thanks to a crappy epoxy bond. I’m also attempting to apply for a second job to pay for my impending trip to Europe. I am going to Europe to see my sweetie who will be in Germany in August. But right now I am tired and a little lonesome.

I’m running on caffeine, leftover pizza, and sheer determination.

We’ll see if I can keep this up for 21 days.


P.S. What do dolphins, humans and bonobos have in common?

Along the leading edge of their lifting surfaces, they form Large vortices behind troughs whereas flow behind the tubercles forms straight streamlines! Check out the article at Eurekalert!

Actually, this doesn’t apply to bonobos at all.