Friday, March 1, 2013


photo (52)

photo (53)

It had been almost a week since I had seen M., so yesterday the two of us caught up over liters of beer and a pistachio pretzel at San Francisco's own Beirgarten. Good beer, lovely company, and gorgeous weather that only promises to get more gorgeous as the weekend approaches!

So, what have I been up to in the past week?

1. Last Friday I saw the modern dance group Pilobolus preform. The technique and ingenuity that go in to their dances is indescribable, so you should just {watch this}. They are, as my father would say, phenomenal.

2. I started working part-time as a beta tester at my brother's friend's tech start up!

3. Monday afternoon I had a phone interview for a position at the Public Library of Science, which is a research journal and organization involved in improving access to and utilization of scientific literature for both scientists and the public. I am incredibly excited about this job because it would allow me to be involved in transforming scientific research communication, which is an amazing opportunity for a young scientist like myself.

4. I had an interview for a position in a lab at UCSF that studies the role of microbial communities in defining states of health and disease. Basically there are communities of microorganisms living all over your body--on your skin, in your gut, in your nasal passages--and scientists have discovered that these microbial communities differ between healthy individuals and diseased individuals. For example, a patient with chronic sinusitis (inflammation of the sinuses) may have high numbers of Organism X in their nasal passages, while healthy individuals may have high numbers of Organism Y in their nasal passages. Building upon this research, scientists believe that by re-introducing Organism Y to the nasal passages of patients with sinusitis we may be able to create a microbial community similar to that of a healthy individual and in this way either reduce the symptoms of or eradicate an individual's chronic sinusitis. The lab focuses on microbial community studies in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Asthma, Sinusitis, Cystic Fibrosis, and in opportunistic infections in HIV patients.

My interview with the principle investigator of this lab went extremely well. So many amazing things kept coming out of her mouth that I thought I must be in a dream: She told me she respected me for walking away from a position that was not a good fit. She told me she appreciated my candidness and honesty. She told me she would want me to be involved in the lab's publications. She told me that she would want me to have my own project in her lab. She told me that her lab is a highly collaborative environment. She told me that she does not force people to work on weekends. She repeatedly said I seemed like a great fit. On Monday I will be meeting the other lab members.

5. I had another interview for a position at UCSF in a lab that studies the development of the human fetal and newborn immune system. For the most part my interview went well, with only the occasional awkward moment where I wasn't able to fully explain some of the projects I worked on in my previous position in Boston. I probably should have mentioned that these gaps in my knowledge were not due to disinterest on my part--but rather the less than ideal dynamic that existed between my past supervisor and I--but I couldn't think of a way to diplomatically slip this information into the conversation. Oh well.

6. I haven't been keeping up with my jogging this week, but on Tuesday I walked 6 miles!

7. I called Dell to inform them that the webcam in my computer was no longer working. During my two hour call (in which nothing was accomplished), the member of the Dell support staff and I had a mini conversation while we waited for something to load. He asked me what I did for a living, and when I said I was a scientist he got really excited. He told me about this movie he had watched in grade school called Mr. India in which a group of scientists invent a machine that makes you invisible except in red light. My Dell Supporter kindly asked me not to invent such a machine, and I kindly told him I would not as I was a biologist. Then he asked if I was married, and our mini conversation ended.

8. I returned a book to Amazon (it was the wrong version), sent an important piece of mail, and filled out an application to switch health care providers.

9. I am in love with the song "Call me on the Ouija Board" {press play}.

Can someone please tell me where February went?


  1. Wow, you've had such a productive week with so many interviews! They all sound like wonderful positions, and that one with Organism X and Y sounds really interesting. I always like striking up random conversations with phone people--it's much better than being perpetually angry with them and the time goes faster. February does seem to have flied by, but perhaps that's because it's such a short month!

    1. I had never really had a conversation with a phone person before, but I really enjoyed having one (even if it did end on an awkward note). I am definitely going to strike up conversations with phone people in the future. I really enjoy hearing people's stories, and talking with phone people is such an easy way to do this. It also takes less guts to talk to them than to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger. I do want to get better at talking to strangers though.

      I really wish February weren't such a short month. It is fun that every 4 years February is a day longer (I am a devote celebrator of February 29th!), but why can't February just steal a day from March?

  2. Wow - it sounds like you've got a lot of great job prospects! And that sinus X/Y thing - dude, seriously - a lot of us here in MI could use that if it could be figured out. Good luck on the job stuff! :)

    1. Thanks so much! I actually have a second interview tomorrow for the sinus X/Y position, so keep your fingers crossed for me!