We're a little crazy, about science!

Third paper updates

Yes, we’re switching focus from my mental health to other things today. Mostly because I feel like I’m just repeating myself in different ways, so instead we can talk about the forward progress I’ve made in my writings. This will be journal paper number three and if my Co-PI is right, we’ll be submitting it early next week!

A quick recap of who I am since I haven’t done one in a while. I’m officially a fourth year PhD candidate in neuroengineering. I have a BS and MS in mechanical engineering and while they sound the same, I like to remind people that these are two totally different fields because I learned that the hard way. My research is looking at how the spinal cord changes the way it communicates to the brain after injury. This term, if all goes according to plan, I will be defending my PhD proposal and early next year I will start collecting THE dataset that will be the foundation of my dissertation. A lot will be happening in a very short amount of time, so that will be fun.

Now a recap of this paper, last spring my Co-PI offered me a chance to be first author on a paper that I couldn’t say no to (here). The experiments that we did were really interesting and I really loved what we were trying to do. So I said yes and while he told me it would be (from memory, I wrote it in that other post, but I’m not bothering to look it up) ~5-10 hours worth of work, that was not the case obviously. Technically speaking this paper should’ve been submitted a few months ago, but we’ve been refining it and adding things to it that I think really made it a whole lot better in the end.

Now I’m counting this is journal paper number three. The one I’m counting as the second paper was the first journal paper I ever wrote and it’s been a long, hard struggle to get that published. Honestly I don’t know that it will ever get published at this point, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed (more here). This is the sixth or maybe even seventh time it’s been sent for review, so I’m probably going to be disappointed again, but we keep trying. Journal paper number one was submitted earlier this year and was accepted basically without too much trouble, we had a few edits to make, then a few more, and now it’s been officially published. This paper wasn’t so lucky, we got every type of rejection you could think of, so yeah not sure I really want to count that paper at this point.

The plan now is to have our co-authors review the paper and ideally Monday I’ll be submitting it to the journal we selected. There are a few things I need to do, organize figures, finalize the supplementary materials, that sort of things, but it’s basically done at this point and I’m really happy with how it call came together. With a little luck this paper will go as smoothly as the first journal paper that was just published. This is closer to the stuff I’m interested in doing, okay, this IS the stuff I’m interested in doing, so it will be nice to have my name attached to something like this.

I mean I’ve made no secret of the hard times I’m going through right now, so I want to try to share some good news. Getting this paper done and sent off is about as good of news as I can give right now. It will be even better news once they accept it for publication, but small victories I guess. This paper was a lot of work, I mean they all are, but this required a lot of thought and trying to determine the best way to show lots of data all at the same time. I think I’ve come up with some great ways to do just that and I’m excited to get to show off my “style” a little when we finally get this out.

Paper number one was good and I’m not saying it wasn’t my style, but this paper has some really interesting figures that I got to make my own, the last paper was more brain-machine interface related so lots of plots showing our prediction vs. an actual state. We had a lot more data for this new journal paper and I couldn’t make simple line graphs, I needed to come up with better ways to showcase stuff.

Anyway that’s the non-mental health update for the day. Over the weekend the plan is to teardown and rebuild my big desktop computer, so we’ll get at least a few days worth of posts that don’t involve super depressing topics. I’m actually excited about this weekend, the build will be hard, long, and take an enormous amount of effort, but I’m hopeful it will be worth it in the end.

But enough about us, what about you?

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