The presentation work
It’s still the weekend… right? Well since it’s dissertation data collection season (is that a thing? I feel like that should be a thing) my weekends have been condensed to the point of getting a short break, but it’s temporary, at least that’s what I keep telling myself. Since there will be virtually no time between now and the hospital lab meeting, today is the day I need to get my presentation ready. Am I ready, not exactly, but that’s the way these things go. Maybe I’ll manage to make progress today though.
So hospital-PI tasked me with giving a rundown on “big idea” to the rest of the lab. This will be the first time hospital-PI, or anyone really, sees the big picture instead of small chunks of data as they were being processed. I’m actually very excited about showing this off. It’s been a long time coming and even though we’re currently sitting at an n = 1 situation, I’m looking forward to getting feedback on the work that’s been done (which to be fair isn’t much…) and what we’re doing next. This will be a great chance to get some feedback from other lab members, but hospital-PI really wants this to be a teaching lesson for the lab on how to do presentations.
From an education standpoint I’m not the senior person, that would be our postdoc. However, I’ve been in the lab the longest, so I know what hospital-PI is looking for in terms of presentations and this will be a good chance for others, who have not done presentations like this, to see how it’s done typically. Mostly this will be a good way to help us discuss narrowing down the focus and getting more people for the project.
There’s still a lot of hurdles. Namely the data we collected still has a long way to go before we can call it done and analyzed. I don’t get a lot of time to work with the data and it’s very complex work that I’m attempting. The code for all of this is written from scratch, or as close to scratch as you can get. Mostly I’m trying to get the foundation done so any further data that we collect can be processed quickly, or at least quicker.
Despite the incomplete data processing, it’s a good chance to get some feedback on what’s been done and direction for further analysis. There’s so much we could do with the dataset that I’m just barely getting started despite spending several weeks working on it. Things like this could take months of dedicated work though, so it’s not like I’m slacking, it’s just a matter of time. Because this project is currently not funded, it’s piggybacking off other projects. Which of course means doing the analysis in my free time (haha, what’s that?) so that we can get some results and apply for funding. Maybe,depending on how well I do with this.
Mostly I think hospital-PI wants to see how I tie what we have into all the stuff we already know. This is new and “uncharted” territory, so he’s adamant that we relate this back to the stuff we already know. Basically building our case that what I’m showing on the new side is correct by validating some of the old and well known stuff. It shouldn’t be too hard, some of the first data I worked on was the “old” way of doing things.
It’s hard to talk around it, and as we know, I cannot share yet! So let’s just leave it at that. The presentation will have to tie all that together, but also explain in a simple way that data I’m showing. Which uses techniques that the lab isn’t familiar with, so there will be background! It’s going to be a crash course in power spectral density, some of the first stuff I learned in my school lab.
Luckily I know how I want to do it and I’m going to make it so simple I’ll probably share it here so anyone can understand how we do power spectral density (PSD) analysis. It’s really cool and tells us a lot about the signal you’re looking at. In my case I take the PSD of brain signals a lot for stuff we do in the school side of things (this paper for example).
So yeah, it’s going to be a rough few months, but come the new year I think things will slow down considerably as I gear up for graduation and spend more time focusing on writing my dissertation. Aim 1 data collection is mostly done, Aim 2 may be shortened or eliminated depending on what we find (if it doesn’t work then aim 2 is gone completely).
For now though, I think this presentation will help both my work with the hospital and school, because most of the code that I write for big idea can be applied, with some modifications, to my dissertation work. This presentation will help not only narrow the scope of the work I do at the hospital, but also help me think about the scope of work planned for my dissertation.
If it weren’t for the overlap I don’t think I would be able to handle all this work. Just a fun reminder that if you can focus on your PhD alone, it may be the better option than doing what I’m trying to do! Although, if all goes well the payoff from all this work will be well worth it!