Friday, May 12, 2006

NeuroGangsta's Paradise

Grad students don't get summers off. It's unfortunate and all kinds of sucky, but it's the bleak reality of graduate school life.

I'm done classes for the year, but I'm still doing research in the lab. It honestly hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. This is mainly due to the fact that I don't feel much stress anymore, and I realized I really have learnt a great deal of biochemistry this past year. I can essentially do a full Western Blot with my eyes closed. I'm impressed with myself, and that's all that really counts.

Good Things

I've just submitted my abstract to the Society for Neuroscience conference in Atlanta Georgia in October. It's a pretty big deal - one of the biggest deals in Neuroscience. Anyone who is anyone in my field is going to be there, so I'll have great opportunities to attend talks and get a feel of what people are researching. Plus it's an all expense paid weekend without my supervisor being there - heh, watch out Atlanta, you're about to be bombarded with over 30,000 neuroscientists looking to get geeked up and schmammer faced!

I'm getting trained on the confocal microscope next week to start some new more interesting experiments. I'm going to be dissecting out single synapses and looking at them live under the microscope. I'll be treating them with some drugs and some proteins to see what happens (essentially, I'm sparing y'all the techy details). This is much more exciting to me as a psychologist - instead of pure biochem this is live in your face what's-going-on stuff. I understand it and relate to it much more than abstract pieces of membranes that I blot with some antibodies.

I'm participating in a study next week - it's a conditional learning study where I have to do some associative working memory tasks while in a functional MRI scanner. I've read and discussed so many fMRI studies so I'm really looking forward to actually getting to do one myself. Plus I get paid and I get to see a pretty picture of my fantabulous brain! I had a training session today to learn the task, and I impressed the experimenter. I got perfect on my second trial with the hardest task and she said "wow, excellent". I am such a sucker for intellectual praise, heh.

Almost everything is all booked for my trip. I've got my flights settled, and in London I'm staying in a dorm of the University of Westminster. I'm so poor right now, but incredibly excited. It's so great to have something like this to look forward to, it's a large part of the appeal of travel.

Overall, it's nice to have things to be excited about. It makes everything else easier to deal with.

By the way, love out to wikipedia - what would I do without it?!

Listening to
Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio
teehee, don't ask!


At 5:13 AM , Blogger John said...

Well done for finishing classes, I haven't been for a while with my project and got exams very soon (13 days) as well. No rest for the wicked.
As if your abstract was submitted - that's amazing! All expenses paid as well, check it out! You sound like you're in a period of 'good' busy things at the moment. So much to be excited about, I'm sure you'll have great fun when you're away, I always do.


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