Monthly Archives: March 2008

Not the black suit with the blue shirt (time for that fashion post)

I threatened to do some fashion posts from time to time and here comes the first one.  Its going to sound like I’m dishing out some advice but I’m not really, just offering some observations and some ideas for anyone interested.

I have a confession.  I like fashion.  To me, it is an art form and some, like Tom Ford or John Galliano, consistently achieve it in its highest form.  I have another confession.  I almost left science back in undergrad days to pursue a fashion design career.  Obviously, I didn’t do it but I still think about how my life would be different now if I’d made that choice.

Onto the point.  Most scientist, contrary to popular opinion, are actually pretty good dressers (that’s my story and I’m stickin to it).  Scientists tend to be fit and that helps.  I get the impression that alot of scientists also are fairly hip and enjoy looking good.  Nothing wrong with that, looking good is supposed to make you feel better about yourself and there isn’t a thing wrong with projecting a degree of coolness through your clothes.  Where it often goes wrong is when us scientists (men and women) have to don the old suit for some important event, especially interviews. Continue reading

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Take some pride in paying your taxes (someday)

I didn’t postdoc in the US. When it came time to move to the next stage Mr and Mrs Juniorprof packed up and headed to the Great White North and landed in glorious Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Quebecois taught me many lessons (but not much French, unfortunately). The most important, non scientific, lesson I learned was that taxes are not a bad thing — in fact, they can be a great source of pride.You see, Quebecers get taxed, about 33% on income and an extra 15% on all purchases. Sounds terrible right.  Not really.  

You see, you get something for those taxes.  You get free, high quality health care.  You get excellent access to education.  You get an outstanding public transport system.  You get immigrants that have free access to social programs that help them integrate into society.  You get 1 year maternity leave (and dudes you get some paternity leave too)!!! Continue reading

How’d I get this job anyway…

MsPhD asked how I got my job so here’s the lowdown, in one word, networking.  Seems pretty strange to say that since about 10 years ago I was a shy, stuttering dude who figured I’d make a decent scientist but never figured I would be able to overcome my social anxiety.  Truth is, I still stutter and I’m still shy but I don’t give a shit about it anymore. Here’s why… Continue reading

The First Graduate Student (Officially)

The past week was a big week for the juniorprof lab… We lucked into getting some very nice (and very expensive) hand-me-down equipment from a closing lab allowing us to save a good portion of the startup funds.  We sent off a big grant for one of NIH’s new mechanisms and our first graduate student officially joined the lab.  All of these things are important but I am especially stoked to have successfully recruited the grad student.  Why? Continue reading

Health Disparities

Last night I watched part one of Unnatural causes… is inequality making us sick? on PBS. The premise of the series is that economic status + education is the single biggest determinant of health in America. This is not controversial as it is well known that life expectancy is tightly correlated with social class in stratified nations and with income in the US. What was remarkable was to see the data presented side by side with very personal stories of how poverty creates health problems which are beyond the control of individuals. Continue reading

Some advice on negotiations for startups

For my first real post I’m gonna steal a little sumthin’-sumthin’ I wrote over at Drug Monkey.  The discussion was veering off into negotiations for startup funds and since I recently went through this process I dropped the following experiences: 

Continue reading

Why Not?

Abel Pharmboy suggested that I start a blog and I always do as I am told… Actually I’ve been thinking about doing this for awhile and decided why not.    I am a very junior tenure track faculty in pharmacology and neuroscience at a public institution in the Western United States.  

This blog will be a bit about science and the trials and tribulations of starting a lab, there’ll be a bit of politics (I’m down with the “O-man”) and a bit about fashion (yes, I said fashion — I almost bolted the science scene for fashion design in my younger days).    

First things first, some credit is due to the bloggers that got me into this.  Alex over at The Daily Transcript first got me interested in blogging for the purposes of talking about science. He continues to be my favorite place to see what is going on in the RNA world (which I dabble in a bit). The great DrugMonkey andPhysioprof have been giving incredible advice to us junior scientists for more than a year now and I owe them thanks for being pivotal in helping me in finding the right job and for providing a forum to talk about science, funding and the process of becoming independent. Finally, I’ve got to thank Abel Pharmboy for finally motivating me to get off my arse and start blogging. 

Hopefully we’ll have some fun here… and we’re off to a great start because UNC just won big!! GO HEALS!!