We're a little crazy, about science!

The week ahead

Semi-regularly I like to look forward at the things I want to accomplish in the next week. Having a good plan going forward helps me focus on the things that need to get done and the literal act of checking things off my list is literally the only thing that keeps me going some days. As usual I’m juggling a lot, but thanks to my 365 days of academia project, I’ve realized this, which means we can adapt… hopefully.

I don’t want to say it’s spite that drives me, but it sort of is. I mean life has been rough and spending most of my childhood being told I wouldn’t amount to much is good enough reason to rub it in people’s faces when I do. Not that I talk to anyone from my childhood, I cut what some would call my family out a long time ago, but it would be a lie if I didn’t admit that some of my drive comes from the off chance that they would come across something I’ve done.

Why am I talking about that when I am looking at the upcoming week? Great question.

The answer is that this week we’re trying something related to my “super secret” technique. It’s very exciting for me since that project has been all but stagnant for an extended period of time now. Ironically now that I have competing funding for the project it’s made life a bit of a headache, but that’s a whole other series of posts. This week we hope to test out some new semi-experimental equipment. It’s not exactly the stuff I used for the original project, in some ways it’s better, but in some ways it makes things more complex.

Part of this week will be to test it out, make sure everything works properly, then do a full on experiment with the equipment. Since it’s on loan to us, we’ll need to do it quick. I say loan, but really it’s a small collaboration. In either case, we need to get in, collect the data, and get out so the equipment can go back its home lab. We’re only collecting data from a small handful of participants, so one day for setup and testing, then one or two different days for data collection. It will be a rough couple of days and those probably won’t be next week, but the equipment testing will be.

Then there’s dealing with our data corruption issue (here). The short version is when we try to open the file it gives us an error. The support department has been super fast at responding and even though this happened two days before thanksgiving, managed to get the data from us and are working on restoring the file. The data are one of a kind, so while we’re planning on collecting more, every bit helps. They’ve been very responsive and apparently have seen this error and recovered the data before, so we’re hopeful. This week I’ll be responsible for keeping up with the emails, so not a huge task, but one I need to keep an eye out for.

We’re also wrapping up an experiment this next week. It’s been something we’ve worked on for years now and next week is the last session. It feels weird, but it’s good. I didn’t mind the experiment and helping out with it, but it was incredibly time consuming and I would like to focus on other things since this won’t amount to much for me (no publications that I’m aware of and no advancing my education, it was purely work stuff).

In between all this, I’m still editing a paper with Postdoc, who I asked to finish writing the results section so I could go in and edit it properly. I’m hoping to get it back in the next day or two so I can really get in there and make the changes that need to be made. It’s already looking a lot better, so I’m hoping hospital-PI will be happy when he sees the latest version (eventually). There was a lot of effort on my part getting this paper written and editing so I’m looking forward to the feedback we get once it’s done.

Lastly, there’s our OR experiments. There are several things that need to get changed around with regard to that. Hospital-PI isn’t thrilled with the current layout we use for data collection, each input on our setup has a different “box” in the software we use to record and currently several of the inputs are not being used so there’s a large blank area that we can hide, but it makes things cumbersome.

This week I plan on going in and changing it all around. I’m planning on literally flipping the input arrangement we have now (which is why the gap is there in the first place) and that should make everyone happy… maybe. I’ll also be coordinating with surgeon-PI to make sure we can get back into the OR when his next case is coming. We also had some great suggestions passed onto us by one of the techs that we’re going to look into.

Basically a lot going on and if everything feels a little disjoint, that’s because it is! The whole lab is transitioning and growing so there’s a lot of awkward things going on all at once. We need space for our lab staff, but there isn’t any readily available so we’ve been given some temporary space that may be permanent because it was originally supposed to be our space, but it may no longer be our space. If that sentence sounds confusing, welcome to the club.

All this stuff going on is why I took a break yesterday. I’m probably going to be taking it easy the next few days anyway since most of the stuff I need to do is at the point that I’m waiting for others to get back to me.


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