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- Still not feeling great.  A temp of 100.2 at 2 in the morning is rather outside the normal range.  However... I woke up sans fever this morning.  Maybe it'll stay that way?  You can bet I'll be bringing my Advil to work anyway.

- Went to new job yesterday!  (Yes, despite fever.  Yes, I know that was perhaps less than clever.  I bet you would too, though.)  It was nice seeing a couple of familiar faces from the old Genome Center; not much has changed there.  Illumina's sequencing technology is really really cool.

- Glad it's a four-day week.  Not certain whether I'll go to choir this evening or not; at the moment I'm leaning towards not.


Feb. 19th, 2011 12:49 pm
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Done with old job!  I finished everything that I really needed to finish, and didn't stay late on my last day (my main goal).  Now I have a long weekend to catch up on sleep and other such activities before starting new job on Tuesday.  :)
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So!  Lots of stuff to talk about.

• As intimated in a couple of earlier posts, I now have job security!  Starting on 2/22, I'll be joining a sequencing group at my current university.  Life has apparently changed quite a bit in the sequencing world; instead of running a single reaction in a single lane (or capillary), I'll be doing Illumina-style library sequencing - hundreds and hundreds of little reactions, all in a single - very expensive - lane.  (My current professor is a little sad at the cost of materials for the project I'm doing now - about $30K for the large amounts of the two most expensive components.  It will take us about a month and a half to two months to go through those materials and complete the study.  At my new job, when I've run two of these Illumina cartridges, with about eight "lanes" for each of them, I will have gone through a roughly equal cost in materials, and I bet I'll do that on my very first day.) 
  I'm excited, naturally; among other things, I'll be working with one of the people from my *last* position, at the Genome Center.  But at the moment, the sequencing group is a little understaffed; I'll be employee #3 in the group.  I'm also nervous, of course: with the cost of materials involved, I'm terrified of making mistakes.  But it'll be neat to pick up a new set of skills.  I know that I do pretty well with process work, so I think I'll be reasonably content.  Wish me luck!

• I have a working hypothesis for the itchy spreading red area around my cat bite.  I took off the bandage that the hospital had put over the bite to show my doctor Monday evening.  He didn't have any of these fancy bandages, so gave me a different sort, which I took off later to shower.  As the bite had pretty well closed up, I didn't bother putting a new bandage on.  The redness mostly went away.  A day or two later after I showered, I noticed that the remaining red area (inflamed a bit by the hot shower, and so more noticeable than previously) had an unusual shape to it that exactly followed the outline of the bandage.  I'd forgotten that my mother, my brother, and I all have sensitive skin, but I would bet that I have a contact allergy to some component of Coverlet Adhesive Dressing, probably the adhesive.  Oh, and doxycyclene is kinder to my system than clindamycin and sulfameth were.  I'll still be glad to be done with antibiotics, but, well...

• Check out the videos at Nova's Making Stuff miniseries site.  David Pogue has been hosting a series of programs on materials science, and the third program aired this past week.  Full episodes about making stuff stronger, smaller, and cleaner are available online, and making stuff smarter is next week.  This week's episode on 'cleaner' had no fewer than three jaw-dropping moments for me (one each in new methods of car component production, plastic bag reuse, and fuel cell development), and is well worth your time.
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Bad: Area of itchy red slightly hurty area increased again since last night.

Good: I have a doctor's appt to get it looked at this afternoon.

Bad: This makes today really complicated, workwise.

Good: I got confirmation that Other Professor and Person Making Hiring Decision really do want to hire me!!!  More on this later when I have time to post about it, prolly tonight.
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Program Coordinator
1A4 – Non Exempt
Simbios, the National Center for Physics-Based Simulation of Biological Structures in the School of Engineering at Stanford, is a large interdisciplinary, multi-institution national center with many moving parts and we are looking for an experienced, flexible, and diplomatic administrator to help us coordinate them. This will involve a wide range of tasks, and the successful applicant will have both high-level skills and a willingness to do what’s needed. Under general supervision, you will independently manage multiple responsibilities and projects as assigned, and help support and coordinate the activities of Simbios faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and students mostly at Stanford but also at other institutions. You will work closely with our Director of Dissemination to help manage our interactions with our many outside users and help administer the grant.
Key duties, which involve a significant degree of independence and accuracy, include: maintain websites, prepare and arrange reimbursements, pay invoices, obtain supplies, manage external correspondence, provide phone support, schedule meetings, assist with conference/event/workshop planning, videotape events and post them on the web, make travel arrangements, and assist with grant preparation and submission.
In addition, you will provide post-award grants management for the center, which is supported by a $10.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). You will be responsible for tracking, monitoring, reconciling, and resolving discrepancies with this grant. Specific tasks include but are not limited to reviewing and ensuring PI certification of expenditure statements, preparing customized reports for PIs and other managers as requested, and using various management reporting tools to accomplish these tasks.

Minimum of 3 years directly related work experience as an administrative associate

• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills with professional manner
• Excellent organizational and project management skills
• Good time management skills with ability to track deadlines
• Ability to multitask effectively and deal positively with interruptions
• Strong computer skills with experience in MS Word, Excel, Power Point and the use of email
• Ability and willingness to learn how to update our website, manage on-line registrations and surveys, and perform other routine web-related tasks.
• Two year degree required, Bachelor’s degree preferred.
Desired skills:
• Experience in maintaining web pages and video editing highly desired. Working knowledge of HTML is helpful
• Experience with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
• Experience in research administration of federal and non-federal grants and contracts
• Knowledge and proficiency in fund accounting concepts, especially university practices

Link to position here.  Or contact Huz.
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• Probably the most exciting thing: Much of the campus is on the electrical grid of Menlo Park.  Today, the Menlo Park grid went down for about two hours.  Happily, the hospital (and the medical library) were on the Palo Alto grid, so I went to the library and tried to do some work there for a while.  The person I'm working with most closely (who's going away for a couple of weeks next week) went home to work there, so I've been doing lots of reading.

• Reading papers and manuals is kind of tiring/eye-crossing.  I knew this already; it's just been a while since I've done lots of it.

• The building I work in is over-air-conditioned.  Need to bring in a sweater I don't much care about to store here.

• Working in a protein lab means I get treated to the smell of beta-mercaptoethanol all day.  It smells kind of like sulfur dioxide, except more sulfur-y.  I'm told I'll no longer be able to smell it reasonably soon.
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Eh.  Enough rambling.  I am working on the next China entry, I promise!  But I wouldn't be surprised if there's more maunderings about this in the next week - apologies in advance. 
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So, meant to post yesterday with more details, but that just didn't happen.  Sorry!

The lab I'll be working in starting 8/18 is a protein lab; they mostly do crystallography stuff.  But there's this new project up that the prof basically wants me to head/direct/do/etc.  Here's the scoop: Now that we know the sequence of, e.g. the Drosophila genome (that's your summer friend and mine, the fruit fly), we know there's a lotta proteins going on.  There's a class of proteins called receptors, which basically let cells give and receive messages to and from other cells.  But the thing is, we haven't any idea in a lot of cases of receptors of just what proteins on the other cells they bind to - their ligands are as yet unknown.  We call these receptors 'orphans'.

My project is to hunt for possible binding partners for these orphan receptors.  It'll involve bioinformatics (sequence-staring to identify extracellular proteins that have a particular domain in them), possibly cDNA synthesis and amplification, cloning the cDNAs into Invitrogen's Gateway system and then popping the coding regions from the initial Gateway to other vectors which will be used for expressing them,  transforming Drosophila cells with the expression constructs, and running a whole heck of a lot of co-immunoprecipitation experiments in all possible combinations of about a hundred proteins to start with.

When I told nezumiko about the project the other day, her response was, "Oh, you're going to be a paparazzi biologist."  I've realized, not so much.  What I'm doing is more like a massive dating service: put a protein together with each of a hundred other proteins, and see who it likes. 

Exciting!  Very very different!  I'll have to take active thought about what I'm doing a lot more, since I'll be basically in charge of this project.  Eeek!  And I have a heckuva lot to learn, really fast.  But.. exciting!  And scary, of course.  But really neat.
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I just received - and accepted - a job offer!!!!!  I'll be working in K. Chris Garcia's lab at Stanford, starting Monday August 25.  More details tomorrow, I promise!  (Yes, this was the one I was keeping relatively close to my chest till something decisive happened.)

Job stuff

Jul. 24th, 2008 09:40 pm
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Things look pretty good after the interview I had today, though I will still say very little because stuff could still happen.

I will say this much: the job opening was originally posted at a grade lower than mine.  It has since been reposted at my level.  I think that's the first time that I've actually been able to put that particular theory into practice.

One down!

Mar. 17th, 2008 06:50 pm
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Interview went well; she thinks she wants to hire me.  Now she needs to post the position so that I can actually *apply*, and so she can jump through the necessary hoops, etc.  Short: She seems nice; she lost the other tech because he was very very incompetent; the lab's doing interesting work.

More details tomorrow, if I can find the time!  The week has become more than a little complicated: the voice lesson that I would ordinarily have had today at 4 (but which I couldn't do, because, well, when a professor suggests a second possibility for interview time/date because the first didn't work for you, you manage to make the second one) has been moved to tomorrow at 2.  I have an interview with the senior scientist in this other lab Wednesday at 5, and with the PI in this other lab Thursday at 4.  Aaaaaagh..

But life is good.  Thanks to all for the good wishes, and I'll give you more details soon!
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ETA 3 hours till interview with the professor I'm all excited about.

And I just got an email from the secretary of another professor, whose office I stopped by at a couple of weeks ago because I thought his stuff sounded really interesting but who was out of town at the time, with whom I did not leave a CV (nor even communicate why I wanted to see him) but who must have seen it in the Stanford job database.  He wants to set up an interview later this week! 

This certainly seems to be going well.  :)
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I has an interview!  Or a lab meeting, anyway.  :)  The professor that I talked about here wants me to come in this Friday afternoon and attend her lab meeting and meet the lab, and to come in for a longer meeting sometime next week.  You may be sure there will be updates, oh yes...  :D

EDIT: (1) Moved to Monday afternoon so as not to be short on time (doctor's appt later Friday that it might conflict with).  (2) She's contacting my references - already!  Without having even met me!


Mar. 10th, 2008 12:10 pm
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The lead that I got on Friday, and that I emailed my CV to only a couple of hours ago is interested in talking to me!!!!!

EDIT: And she does awesome neurobiology stuff!  Lookee:

We are interested in addressing questions in neuronal development and function by a combination of genetic, cell biological, biochemical and chemical approaches.
The main focus of our lab is centered around two topics: 1) the interface of signaling and gene regulation in neuronal development, with a focus on calcineurin-NFAT signaling; 2) the development of small molecules, which interfere with pathogenic protein-protein interactions underlying neurodegenerative diseases.

Mustn't get ahead of myself, musn't get too excited here...
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This seemed particularly appropriate after my recent post


1. Go to
2. Put in Username: nycareers - Password: landmark
3. Take the 'Career Matchmaker' questions at the upper left corner
4. Post the top 10 results.

Results: (before answering supplemental questions)
1. Massage Therapist
2. Marine Biologist
3. Pet Groomer
4. Zoologist
5. Electrician
6. Autobody Repairer
7. Prosthetist/orthotist
8. Esthetician
9. Locksmith
10. Botanist

This is interesting mostly in the first two.  Many people I know (including my mother-in-law) insist that I could have a secondary career in massage.  And for a number of years when I was a kid, I was positive I wanted to be a marine biologist.  Endless Ocean, here I come!

other amusing ones:
12. Security systems tech  --  ??
15, Veterinary tech  --  after all the business with Bernie Cat, I actually have a lot of skills here
17. Musical instrument builder and repairer  --- could be fun
18. Biologist -- ahaha, there we go!
38. Gunsmith  -- ???!? (I guess it's low down on the list!)

Results after supplemental questions:

1. Acupuncturist
2. Picture framer
3. Stenographer
4. Microbiologist
5. Massage therapist
6. Zoologist
7. Biologist
8. Orthodontist
9. Esthetician
10. Optometrist

????  Must be because I didn't put 'like' after most of the 'study of X' ones.  They're all plausible, mind you; I just didn't feel strongly one way or the other


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