We're a little crazy, about science!

A look ahead

Okay the next month or so is going to be busy. Complete and utter chaos levels of things to get done. So today instead of complaining about the data I have to process (since I already did that yesterday!) I figure we can look forward. I have some exciting things happening so might as well give you all a sneak peek at upcoming events.

First my deadline, Thursday… as in this upcoming Thursday! I have a presentation on the experiment I did. I’m still working on it and technically it’s just an informal presentation. The formal presentation the next day (Friday). There I will have to answer questions about the data and what it all means. I’m a little anxious! Frankly I need more time, but guess what? I don’t get more time. My PI is pushing me to get it done, so I can’t use no time as an excuse even if its the truth.

I have a journal paper that I’m first authoring waiting to be reviewed by my PI and a journal paper I’ve first authored in review with journal from my old PI (Master’s work). Once my current PI edits the paper I’m working on now, we hope to submit it to a journal shortly after. He’s a busy person, so we’ve been waiting a bit now, but hopefully that will get done soon. Just more stuff up in the air right now, blah.

I also have experiments starting. Some are more “mine” than others. The next big experiment is not one of mine, it’s a longitudinal study on spinal stimulation for recovery. We’re testing out a new non-invasive device which is exciting. I had some certification training to do beforehand so that I can assess the neurological function of the people involved in our study. It seems like I’m always learning something new and this was no exception. It was good and I’m excited to do the experiment, it should prove to be interesting to see if it works.

We’re also interviewing for postdocs! I say we because my Co-PI doesn’t run his lab in the typical hierarchical structure you normally see. I’m treated as an equal so my opinion has as much weight as his or anyone else’s. It was an awesome change of how things are normally run.

So when we interview postdocs I get to be part of the process, give my input on how I think they would fit, and even get to ask questions and some of us meet separately with them (without my Co-PI) to discuss “openly’ what it’s like working in the lab. Not that I wouldn’t say anything differently if he were around, but I’m sure it is a little disorienting for the potential postdoc to see how the lab is run so it’s probably more for them than us. We’re in the process of trying to hire two, possibly three. Which means a lot of interviews and zoom meetings to get all the logistics worked out in a pandemic!

Lastly, and probably the most exciting bit of news, I’m going to do my PhD proposal defense. Not to be confused with a PhD defense, my proposal defense is where I declare my official PhD topic. Right now I’ve been doing the groundwork to justify the risky topic I’ve selected, what I’m calling my “super secret technique.” I believe I have enough data to show within a reasonable doubt that I have something and that the information I get is useful.

I’ve formed my committee, everyone’s agreed to be part of it, and now I just need to set the date for my defense. Two weeks prior MINIMUM, I need to have my written proposal sent off to my committee, then I need to do a presentation (powerpoint or something similar). There I will get questions about the work I’m doing, the pitfalls, how I will adjust as needed, and the expected outcomes. More importantly I need to argue why this is important and why it justifies me getting a PhD for the work.

I’m sending out the suggested times next week after the deadline for this experiment so I can shift gears a bit and focus on the proposal. Thankfully the grant I wrote will provide the foundation for the proposal. Ideally this will mean less work for me. I also have some newly collected data for the proposal to strengthen my case that this technique of mine is valid so I need to get that processed and ready to go before then as well.

Basically a lot of work and things are just going to get more interesting as time goes on. Once I get enough preliminary data collected to publish my “super secret technique,” I will be able to stop referring to it that way and start talking more about how it’s going to help people. That will be a great day. I figured we would already be there at this point, but that’s how it goes some times.

Okay, now back to work I go!


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