Saturday, 30 June 2007

Internet dating ... for scientists

I subscribe to "The Scientist", which is a free science e-newsletter delivered to my inbox a few times a week. Just last week, an article ("Darwin hits dating", June 25th 2007) featured in this newsletter describing dating websites for "beautiful people" and how one Australian who created a beautiful people dating website named it "Darwin dating" refering to Charles Darwin's theory of Natural selection ie. the natural process of selection whereby stronger and favourable traits become more common from generation to generation because their capacity to thrive against less favourable ones is greater. For the most part, this article described these dating websites but at the end it mentioned a dating website for scientists!!! This took me by suprise, although i have actually wondered whether one existed once or twice before. The website is Science Connection ( Its motto reads "the network for single people interested in science or nature". Naturally, I had to have a quick look at a few profiles and pictures but i found it hard not to see the humour in it and had a joke about it with a few of my colleagues. Scientists are usually stereotyped as eccentric, hard-working people with not much of a social life, which i can attest to. So to actaully see something like this was mildly amusing. The website boasts of a high successive rate even with an "off-spring" statistic - only a science dating site could get away with an off-spring statistic. One thing which i had to shake my head at were the images of a male and female scientist who looked as if they were a match and were in contact with each other using their laptops to communicate. But it wasnt this nerdy laptop photo that i had to disapprove of, but the fact that they were in their lab coats sitting on the lab floor!!! That goes against all laboratory safety regulations. Just incase you were wondering (i was), there is an alternative website for homosexuals called Alt Sci Connection which has a motto of "the meeting place for gay people into science".

A change of tune

I have decided to dedicate this blog to all things science (encompasing all scientific disciplines, if possible). I originally decided to trial two blogging forums (Myspace and this blogging forum) for my personal blog but that was really pointless. Myspace will now facilitate my personal blog and this one my science blog. I hope to be able to write about my PhD with an emphasis on its progress (if any) and any ideas; interesting news in the world of science; and just observations or queries of mine that are science-related...basically anything that's science. The three posts before this one are from my personal blog and i've decided to include them because they are about my PhD.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

A celebration?

1st June 2007

Today (June 1st) marks the first year anniversary of starting my PhD (ie. the start of my second year). I dont know whether i should be happy or sad. I guess i feel a little of both:
Happy, because:
- I've made it through my first year
- I dont have the urge to throw it all in
- I actually have results which i will present at a conference next week.

Sad, because:
- That's one year gone and now i have even less time to complete what feels like would take 5 years to finish
- I can't walk around and blame all my mistakes on being a first year student- I actually have to sound knowledgeable now as opposed to acting it

Anyway, regardless of how i felt, i stopped by my favourtie pastry shop this morning (hey, i was in the neighbourhood, sort of) and picked up an almond flan to share with my colleagues. They all looked at me a little confused but nevertheless, wished me well.


9th February 2007

I am feeling ecstatic right now (in the scientific sense). Ater spending a morning in the lab (yes, another Saturday), i have manged to produce one of the best results yet. Last weekend, i showed an interaction of my two proteins in the mammalian system using one method and this week i showed the same interaction in the same system but using a reciprocal method. This result can also be used for my work and strengthens our working hypothesis that one protein is involved in the cell signalling events of the other protein. Although i have to repeat this experiment because i accidently broke the gel in the most important spot, i am more confident that i can get the same result if replicated.

It's times like these that make it all worth-while

3rd February 2007

Ahhhh...A big sigh of relief from my part of the world. I had a very satisfying day in the lab today (yes, a Saturday). I finally got the result i was looking for and a result that takes me one step closer to fulfilling one of my goals for 2007 ie. to present my work at a conference. With a little tweaking of my experimental protocol i was able to show the interaction of two proteins that i am studying. I had been trying to do this for the last 5 months (in two different systems - in vivo and in vitro) and i was able to show an interaction on two separate occassions but the interactons were very weak. Today's result gave me a strong indication of binding. Yay! Thank you phosphatase inhibitors.