Archive for: June, 2011

Evolution of a one-trick pony

Jun 30 2011 Published by under Careers, Life, Things that go beep!

I was originally hired onto the TT at Big State U based on my postdoctoral track record in a particular field using a certain technique. I was pretty much a one-trick pony. Don't get me wrong. This was not a bad thing at the time. It netted me a slew of publications that are to this day reasonably well cited. And it landed me my position. And got my research program here off to a good start.

Although my current research program is in a somewhat related area to my postdoctoral work, I no longer use that original technique. In fact I haven't for 6-7 years now. I can't say I'm an "expert" in any technique now. I, or more correctly my lab peeps, use a whole slew of them. Various spectroscopic techniques (fluorescence, CD etc.), mass spec, nmr etc. We're dabbling with crystallography and collaborating with a computational group. I'm considering trying some SAXS.*

I've evolved from being a one-trick pony into a jack-of-all-trades.**

One-trick pony PI's still exist. Some things are complicated or expensive enough that they may never become routine lab tools (e.g. x-ray crystallography and nmr). But even for those PI's, relying on a single technique has become dangerous. As a crystallographer colleague has said on more than one occasion, "simply" solving structures will not keep you funded.

And that brings me to today's message: One should be willing to go where the research is taking you, and that can often mean learning new approaches and techniques. And/or striking up collaborations with people who can do things you can't.

Flexibility is a good trait to possess.

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* Get your minds out of the gutter. SAXS = small-angle x-ray scattering.
** And master of none?

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Who are you, why are you here, what do you want?

Jun 16 2011 Published by under Life

In a case of I see monkey do...

Copying from DrugMonkey, here's a little meme for anyone paying attention:

This originates from Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science. Ed asked the following of his readers:

1) Tell me about you. Who are you? Do you have a background in science? If so, what draws you here as opposed to meatier, more academic fare? And if not, what brought you here and why have you stayed? Let loose with those comments.

2) Tell someone else about this blog and in particular, try and choose someone who's not a scientist but who you think might be interested in the type of stuff found in this blog. Ever had family members or groups of friends who've been giving you strange, pitying looks when you try to wax scientific on them? Send 'em here and let's see what they say.

So have it dear reader(s?).

16 responses so far