Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Now, for something completely different...

It's been a while since I really talked about my life and research without whining. At the end of 2009, I was in a bit of a slump. Paramed and I were both stressed. My stress was due to lack of research progress, his due to work insanity and finals. And then there were the holidays. We were stressed out, eating junk food, not exercising, and otherwise behaving like slobs.

We've been trying to change our habits this month. We're getting up earlier. We're eating healthier foods. We've worked out every day. These things along have improved our moods and energy level. Paramed has started working in a biochem lab where he is working on his B.S. in biochem (yes, I'm a terrible influence :P), where he's been doing protein purification this week (prior to the start of classes). He seems to be enjoying it.

And I am having a blast in the lab these days. After we returned from holiday travels, I started learning all sorts of new things. The focus of my project has shifted from an in vitro model, which we have not successfully validated, to an in vivo model. The in vivo model has been characterized and is used by some collaborators in a very different context. There are many questions remaining that are of great interest to Guru and me. I've never done in vivo studies, but this was a major thing that I wanted to learn in my postdoc. Now I'm doing it. Even better, we can use intravital microscopy in this model, which (1) has not been used in this model, (2) has the potential to unmask kinetics of events, (3) is just plain sexy, and (4) gives me the chance to work with a colleague that I get on with really well. After basically an aggregate week of training with said colleague, I'm flying solo. Keep in mind this is all new to me, so I can't believe that I'm doing small animal surgery and imaging. We started running preliminary experiments this week. There are still a lot of data and samples to process, but things are looking promising. And Guru is quite excited about developing the model for intravital microscopy. So things are good, despite working late and spending most of my time this week alone in a cold, dark, windowless room and not having much time to eat lunch... or in this case tonight, dinner*. I'm actually enjoying it! I'm excited about my research!! A great way to start a new year. Hopefully this will set the tone for the months to come.

*If I fail to make sense here, I blame the sensory deprivation, lack of food, or lack of human contact... or some combination of the three :)