Captain's log

4/1/15 - Day 730: It's been two years and Year 3 starts today.

2/17/15 - Day 688: I've been sick for a week now, coughing my way through experiments. In a deja vu from last year, juggling finishing two papers and writing grants, so maybe it's time to come up with some monkeys for the next few months and redo my IDP. 1) finish revisions for paper #1; 2) submit paper #2; 3) define structure and write R01 #1 and #2; 4) figure out how to keep track of everyone's projects and career development; 5) develop my mentoring skills; 6) restructure my talk to become 2 separate talks.

11/8/14 - Day 587: Since I've been on Twitter I've neglected the log. Lots has happened. A new postdoc started in the lab and I'm waiting for the 3rd one. Two grants went unfunded, which made me feel much better about myself...go figure. It was actually the same grant recycled and it kind of sucked. Working on a new paper and starting to think about the R01(s)...It's probably time to regroup and define some new monkeys for the next year.

8/2/14 - Day 489: I don't know why I'm embarrassed about it but I got another grant. This is a small pilot project to get preliminary data for the R01 I want to write, so despite being small it's a very important one because it was the first stab at writing that project out and the reviewers loved it. Also yesterday for the first time my postdoc gave me data...honest to God data proving that the model we had been proposing for a while is actually true. I've been taking it easy this summer to recover from the madness from last year, but now must get back into the game. Science is fun right now!

6/19/14 - Day 445: Lots of movement on the blog in the past few days. I was worried at first that some creepy crawler had found its way in, but it turns out I was picked up by a few other bloggers on Twitter. Bloggers with A LOT of followers. Very exciting to see hits from all over the world and hoping this effort will be useful to more people. I've always been kind of weary of Twitter, but maybe I should get on it...

6/9/14 - Day 435: A perfect storm of a day: I submitted a grant and both paper 1 and 2 were accepted. Now we're rolling.

5/31/14 - Day 426: Things are already a-changin'. A new undergraduate started as soon as the previous one left and one of my techs left for grad school. It's strange to be the one who stays and watches people come and go...

5/10/14 - Day 405: I guess things are finally moving now! Just heard I was awarded a second grant for my genetics/zebrafish work and so I get to hire a third postdoc. From 0 to 3 in a couple of months and my first postdoc just started a couple of weeks ago. I'm stunned and excited, wondering what it would be like to have these many people in the lab. For once all the monkeys from Jan 1st got done this time, but I'm still the primary person doing all the critical work, must come up with new monkeys and give them to other people.

4/1/14 - Day 366: My first lab anniversary! Hopefully things will start moving soon :)

3/11/14 - Day 345: I'm not gone. February was a crazy month. Paper #1 came back with a lot of comments and we are working in trying to figure out what to do. Paper #2 is out for review and we'll see what they say. I have managed to hire not one, but two postdoctoral fellows and I am very excited to have the lab fully staffed. One of my techs got into the grad school of her dreams which is bittersweet for me, but wonderful for her, so I decided to replace her with a second postdoc. And I picked up an undergraduate along the way....

1/20/14 - Day 295: Paper #1 is not only submitted, but out for review!! Now I just pray for doable revisions....Or it will have to go somewhere else. At least it was in shape to go out. Now to paper #2

1/9/14 - Day 284: We start again. Another postdoc search. I am wiser and better prepared after the first one. Despite the numerous posts I wrote about hiring, there were still many things to learn and now I have a better idea of what I want. We'll see how it goes...

1/2/14 - Day 277: A new year... in 8 months into my first year as a PI I learned a lot and I am still struggling to set everything up. This may be a good time to get back to my monkeys: 1) paper 1 out, this is still the same one for a year ago after dozens of revisions, new data and experiments, now it must go or I'll just lose it, 2) paper 2 also must go out after innumerable delays for paper 1, 3) finish RNAseq and exome sequencing validation, 4) hire a post-doc, 5) get a grant, 6) define structure of first independent paper. This seems enough for now.

12/14/13 - Day 258: I was hoping to have good news by now. A month ago I heard I got a score in the single percentile digits in my first grant and I was over the moon. Everything moved smoothly to the pre-award stage, but I was waiting for the notice of award before I posted anything. Well, the foundation froze the entire grant session. I am stuck in limbo for a few more months to figure out whether I will get the money or not. I don't know what to say....

11/28/13 - Day 242: Happy Thanksgiving, again!! Just took a pre-Thanksgiving vacation and it was amazing. I always forget how great going on vacation is and work myself to the ground. Truly disconnecting for a few days make such a big difference for your sanity. Now I must remember to be thankful for what I have and enjoy this day.

11/3/13 - Day 217: Trying to keep my head above water. Running around like a headless chicken for conference season, but it's so nice to talk to people and find out what is going on. I'll rest some other time...

9/10/13 - Day 163: Guess what?! We got data this week! The first genuine piece of data generated all by our lonesome selves. It took more than 5 months and an inordinate amount of patience and sheer will to survive. That first experiment from 8/19 didn't work. Ah,...and in the meantime the fish protocol was accepted and the second grant proposal was submitted. I found a really nice yoga studio near the lab.

8/19/13 - Day 141: $10,000 of consumables/chemicals/reagents later the lab is ready to go and I did my first real experiment yesterday. Not genotyping, not a maxiprep, an actual experiment with an actual question to answer. My new RA started today and we are starting to get going. I feel like one of those steam engine run trains trying to leave the station and pulling very hard on my iron wheels to start rolling on the tracks.

7/19/13 - Day 110: We moved into the lab yesterday and it is absolutely stunning! Now I have to keep it funded and fill it with people. The first grant went out and it was a decent effort even if it could have been better. This week I also hired a new research assistant and interviewed a post-doc. Things are happening...even if not experiments, yet.

7/5/13 - Day 96: Second Letter of Intent accepted! First grant is due in 10 days. Still no lab or fish room or anything else for that matter. Nothing in the monkey list from April got done. Definitely not a good "first 100 days"...

6/19/13 - Day 80: First Letter of Intent accepted! Let the grant writing begin! The contractors found asbestos in the lab, but today I don't want to think about it. I gotta keep moving.

6/5/13 - Day 66: I'm still here and things are moving along. Walls in the lab have gone down and gone up, now it's just a matter of benches. The IRB reliance was approved as a lot of sequencing came back!  Most of the mouse lines had babies. Book chapter came back with minimal revisions...Plodding along submitting letters of intent and trying to set up experiments. If all goes well I may even be able to post a tech job this week.....Wait, wait, FedEx just called that my PCR machines are here!

5/16/13 - Day 46: Small victories. Managed to do an experiment this week and submitted the IRB reliance. For the rest I'm pushing as hard as I can....some days I feel like Sisyphus.

4/27/13 - Day 27: The blog is picking up a steady stream of views, particularly in my grant writing posts and product reviews. Very few people seem to follow the management related stuff, but I'm going to keep posting on it, since this is important for my own learning process. It's time for a "monkey" update to see how we are doing: 1) finish last experiment on paper and submit (I know, I's been months I've said this....), 2) write paper on collaborative project (aha, this is new!), 3) get together figures for book chapter, 4) zebrafish protocol by end of May, 5) IRB reliance, 6) order fish room equipment, 7) push harder on new zebrafish project, 8) RNAseq validation, 9) new sequence analysis. Lab won't be ready for another 6 weeks, so I'll have to be creative with experiments.

4/20/13 - Day 20: Another confusing day with the bomber manhunt going on in Boston and me watching from DC. Not much got done. This whole thing was so horrible, yet I have to go to a conference on Sunday and get back on track this weekend.

4/18/13 - Day 18: Back to DC. I watched the puff of smoke from the Boston Marathon bomb from the lab on Monday and the past couple of days were spent dealing with backing up computers, cleaning freezers, counting mice, organizing fish, while trying to deal with what happened in the city and suppressing memories of 9/11. It is truly horrible that as a New Yorker, I could watch the horror and disbelief in my friend's eyes while already having the instruments to cope with tragedy, and that at the same time I just kept going because the time was limited and there was a flight to catch. Things start fresh, but my heart is heavy for Boston.

4/10/13 - Day 10: Should I start a countdown: 2180 days until tenure? Better not, since it may go by incredibly fast. First week was fun, mostly spend on writing the chapter since the lab is not ready. Lots of professorial things like dinners with speakers and faculty candidates and I even got to teach. Getting ready to move forward to new administrative never ends.

3/31/13 - Day -1: Enough's Day -1! Look at my post from today.

3/24/13 - Day -7: I've left the blog on autopilot for a while, because things have been crazy. The new job is only 7 days away!!! I moved all my stuff this week and I'm somewhat settled into my new apartment. Though tomorrow is back to Boston for my last week of work. I can't wait to be here all the time and get the lab up and running.

3/7/13 - Day -24: Today the R00 was approved for funding and the mouse protocol came back with tiny revisions. This was a very eventful week. Now it's write write write. Lab may not be ready for another couple of months, so I'll have time to analyze data in the meantime...

2/26/13 - Day -34: Still really tired and now getting sick...Heading to a conference in California in 5 days. Hopefully the mouse protocol is really out this time and now I can focus on the paper and on getting an outline for the chapter done...and some more RNAseq libraries....really excited about the RNAseq results but it takes so much time to get me back into bioinformatics mode. Must resist and keep going another 34 days! Part of me just wants to curl up into a ball and sleep for a few days...

2/22/13 - Day -37: Mouse protocol is done and ready to go out. Paper draft is also out being read right now. Tomorrow I'm taking a much deserved break and going to the theater. I can't help but try to figure out what to do next.

2/17/13 - Day -43: I'm exhausted and I'm running out of time. I booked my movers in a month and now this thing is really happening! Trying to finish up both the mouse protocol and the paper this weekend.

2/9/13 - Day -51: Blog overhaul today. I've become annoyed at the Dynamic views and went back to a more standard outline. I'm hoping it will make navigation easier and stimulate readers to look at multiple posts. Of course, all this because I'm putting off finishing the paper and the mouse protocol...

2/5/13 - Day -55: Looks like I have a mouse room and a fish room. Trip to DC we highly successful. I had some very good information on how to structure the mouse protocol and was even able to pick up a few nice pieces of equipment from the PI whose space I'm taking over. Very exciting!!

2/1/13 - Day -59: We are officially 2 months out. Work is actively underway to get the mouse protocol done in the next 3 weeks so that it can be submitted for approval in March. I'll deal with zebrafish and IRB once I'm, here are the updated "monkeys" in order of priority 1) finish writing paper and submit, 2) mouse protocol, 3) start collaborative project, 4) oversee new zebrafish project (my tech is doing), 5) book chapter, 6) MOVE!, 7) zebrafish protocol, 8) IRB application.

1/25/13 - Day -66: R00 is out. I only have 2 months left unruly "paper monkey", it's you and I, buddy!

1/23/13 - Day -68: Today I discovered that picking office furniture is fun. In addition, I hope the R00 is gone, but if not today, it will go tomorrow. It is now out of my hands. Moving on to paper writing and mouse protocol drafting....

1/17/13 - Day -75: Finally shot a monkey today!!! Lab renovation plans were signed and approved, hopefully in time to have a brand new spanking lab on April 1st. Monkey #5 (R00 proposal) is also very close to completion, while monkey #2 (write paper) is jumping up and down and laughing at day at a time....(Disclaimer: no actual primates were harmed. Monkeys are metaphorical.)

1/11/13 - Day -82: Last lab meeting for me. Getting ready to leave soon and today was the last official presentation to the lab. The last lab meeting ever, in fact. After all these years, I have to admit that it's fine with me to graduate to just listening to lab meeting and giving talks elsewhere. Things are getting tense though with little more than 2 months before I have to move. None of the monkeys I listed on 11/11 have been dealt with, despite the fact that some of them are close to being sent off....back to work.

1/1/13 - Day -91: Happy New Year!! 2012 was pretty awesome for me, so I'm really thankful for it and for the challenges of the year to come. The plan to get a grant and a paper done during the holidays has taken numerous hits (visiting friends and family is one thing, but there was really no need to watch Season 2 of Homeland in 24 hours), however, I'm slowly plodding through....they say that "What you do on the First or the year, you'll do the rest of the year" so let's see if grant writing will be it. Even better if writing grants which will get funded will be it.

12/23/12 - Day -97: Fewer than 100 days to the start of a new adventure. The plans for the lab are almost done and the final paper is taking shape. The last month has been absolutely brutal, but starting today I'll have 2 weeks away from lab for the holidays and I can write. We'll see if emerge victorious with a grant and a paper or if I just gain 5lbs from the Christmas celebrations.

12/14/12 - Day -106: Are you officially a PI when the prospect of spending 7 hours on an airplane means you can finally have some peace to work on that grant you need to finish?

12/7/12 - Day -113: Eventful week. On the personal side looks like I found a place to live in DC and on the professional side things are ever so slowly moving with the project and we are inching towards the end. Started with the end-of-year meetings and so far so good. Looks like I had a good time and they had a good time.

11/30/12 - Day -120: Maybe just maybe we have a semi-final plan for the lab renovation and 4 months to go to get it done. I'm flying down tomorrow and sneaking back into the building on Sunday to take a look at the rooms again. Let's hope I make mostly right choices about where to put things. Knee holes? Counter height? Sink positioning? Cabinets or drawers? We'll see....

11/25/2012 - Day -125: One unexpected Black Friday purchase! I was at a kitchenware store and all alone in a corner some lovely staining jars were staring at me. Doubt anyone in there actually knew what they were and that they were worth more than the piddly $6.98 on the price tag. When you have to start a lab you find deals in the most unexpected places....

11/22/2012 - Day -128: Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Many many scientific things to be thankful for this year. The fact that I have a lab to set up, my totally awesome lab members, the money I have to spend and all my colleagues and future colleagues who are helping me in making this happen. I feel very very fortunate!

11/18/2012 - Day -134: This was a long week. There were some awesome news on the lab renovation and unexpected grant money downfall, but then experiments have been dragging. As the clock ticks and I'm working on a deadline, I was hoping to have a part of the project done by Thanksgiving to get a semi-final draft of the paper, but it doesn't look like it is going to happen. Ah, Science, please let us move forward!

11/11/2012 - Day -141: While putting together the "monkey post" today, I've been thinking about my monkeys and also thinking about the days when studying for 2 exams at the same time was a big deal...As a sociological experiment, I want to see how I feel as the monkeys multiply over time, so I'll try and post my monkeys periodically. Today I'm feeling pretty good and only slightly panicked when I think about my monkeys, who are 1) Experiments for the next paper, 2) Writing the next paper, 3) Start a collaborative project , 4) Another new project , 5) R00 proposal, 6) Lab renovations, 7) Mouse protocol, 8) Zebrafish protocol, 9) IRB application, 10) Book chapter....ok, now I'm panicking...

11/09/2012 -  Day -143: As I set up the blog we are at t=-143 days before starting the lab on April 1st. So far this may be a complete waste of time, but hopefully I'll figure out how to make it helpful and productive.

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