We're a little crazy, about science!

A timeline revisited

Balance, it’s all about balance. Right now I have school on one side, the hospital on the other. So far things have been good and in order to keep the balance, hospital-PI and I had a long discussion about the big idea I had almost a year ago and we agreed that the pace is going too slow. So it’s time to hit the turbo button. But what does that look like and where do we go? This is a tale of collaboration, combining different studies, and me, stuck in the middle of it all.

Things are moving quickly with big idea lately. I’m not complaining, but it is a lot of work. It’s also very exciting, so let’s recap real quick and we can dive into what happened. For those who don’t want to click the link, big idea was an idea I had last year when I made a random connection and as the possibilities became apparent, we all got very excited about it. Since that, we’ve been working towards making it happen. We’ve done several experiments that were adjacent to the original idea, but recently I got the chance to get a single dataset collected using the original premise of my idea.

Over the past month or so, I’ve been working on processing the date. It’s a lot of data and a lot of very complex analyses that need to happen. I’m like 30% done, if I’m being generous, with all the stuff I could pull out of the single dataset we have. There’s a lot of work involved with this type of research, which is why the TSS paper I published recently took years, literal years, of effort to get published. Thankfully, this won’t take years, I hope anyway, to get done.

Today hospital-PI and I had a long discussion about the work and where we are going with it. The problem is getting the data itself is taking too long. We rely on several collaborators to make this happen and I love the fact that we have a cross-disciplinary group working on this project. It’s been a large undertaking, so having so many people helps. But we want to publish this sooner rather than later.

So we’re discussing our timeline again and trying to figure out what we need to do to make this happen. Big idea will be high impact if all goes well, so we’re aiming for a very high impact journal, like nature for example. It would be huge if we could make this happen. While nothing is set in stone and this could be all for nothing, or maybe not as “high impact” as we think it would be, there’s still a long road between now and then.

First we need to figure out what we want to do. We did a lot, but for the paper we need to tell a story rooted in science. So we need to do our homework, basically build our argument. We need to build from the ground up and while hospital-PI has seen bits and pieces, he hasn’t seen the full story. That’s what is hopefully what will happen next week at the lab meeting (at least a mile high overview). Then we will meet separately and probably with our collaborators to go over everything to build up this paper.

Like I said, there’s a few different routes we could go and this could be seperate papers or maybe just combine everything together. It’s hard to decide and that’s part of the big deal at the moment. There’s so many different routes we could go with this that having a clear path forward will help make sure we hit our goal. Ideally in less than a week we’ll have a plan and in just a few months we’ll have the data we need.

It’s been a somewhat nebulous goal, so figuring out the path forward will make me feel a lot better, but will also help narrow down the analyses I’m working on. It’s so exciting to be at this point and even though I don’t have the data in hand or any real idea how we’re going to progress, it’s still exciting to see hospital-PI take interest and really push to make this happen. We have so many other projects (other funded projects specifically) that this feels like it should be the last thing we spend time worrying about, but he sees the potential in big idea.

In my intro I always like to drive the point home that I’m coming from different fields. Between mechanical engineering to neuroengineering, and the work in the hospital which is mostly electrophysiology and neuroscience. It took all of that to come up with big idea, so I’m happy to be in a place in my career where I have this type of experience. Just starting out, way back in undergrad, it felt like I would never get to this point.


2 responses

  1. So the speed increase – I assume that’s going to come from eliminating some of the possibilities, stripping down the work plan to just the things you need to tell your first story about this concept? Or perhaps labor savings from merging some of the ideas?

    Whatever it is, I hope it doesn’t end in you having more work. Hospital already seems to be taking the much larger part of your time.

    Liked by 1 person

    August 25, 2022 at 11:44 pm

    • Yeah, we’re narrowing our scope which would (hopefully) speed things up. It’s a bit sad since there’s so many things we can do and I want to basically do it all, but we can always go back and do the other stuff too. It’s just for this particular paper we’re narrowing the scope to something more manageable.

      I think this will make less work for me really, but having firm deadlines will probably negate the time saved from less work. Not a bad thing really, but it would’ve been nice to have a lighter workload!


      August 26, 2022 at 10:13 am

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