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Latest Posts

It’s Not All About the Facts…

By Jen Nguyen In many ways, I am living a dream. I’m content. I don’t at all mean that I wish to remain a grad student forever. And I realize that my day-to-day is imperfect. But ask me how I’m doing, and I would tell you I’m “great!” and truly mean it. There was a […]

The science of disbelief

By Sarah Spencer In late January, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey of the American public regarding their views on science and society.  The results showed strong positive support of the scientific endeavor, with 79% of adults claiming that science has made life easier for most people, and 72% stating that government investment in […]

Should I do a postdoc?

By Felix Moser In this post, I examine the “postdoc” as a step in a young scientist’s career. A “postdoc”, or one’s time as a Postdoctoral Associate in a lab, is traditionally the phase of a scientist’s career immediately after graduate school that precedes a career in academia. But due to sparse availability of faculty […]

PCR of the heart, a REFS story

By Scott Olesen If you’re the kind of scientist who does a lot of PCR, a common experimental method for making a few strings of DNA into many strings, you’re probably worried about chimeras. PCR makes many faithful copies of the original DNA strings, but is also makes a few chimeras, combinations of two or […]

A lesson I took from ancient Romans and The Terminator

By Scott Olesen A few months ago, I told my advisor about my planned path to graduation. One paper on this, one paper on that, and a third paper about this other thing—that makes a thesis. “You will certainly have enough stuff to graduate,” he told me. “Now you should start thinking about doing the […]

Biology needs a Grothendieck (or at least a Hilbert)

By: Tony Kulesa Recently passed away last month is the storied mathematician Alexander Grothendieck, who, in between his early quest to personally assassinate Hitler and his later (asc)descension into anarchist hermitdom, amassed a Christ-like following of mathematicians to rebuild entire fields of mathematics into a single theory of sublime generality, starting with the definition of […]

For the love of pipettes and alchemy

By Diana Chien One of my friends once asked her dental hygienist how she had chosen her career. With cheerful satisfaction, the hygienist replied, “I like it when things are really clean.” When I heard this story, I was charmed by a) the hygienist’s honesty and b) the non-grandiosity of her answer. While I’m sure […]

The true champions of biomedical research

By Sean Kearney Historically, Thanksgiving has been one of my least favorite holidays. I love to eat, but I’m vegan and it can be really unpleasant to be around carnivorous family members constantly remarking on my dietary restrictions, saying, “Life would be so much easier if you just ate butter.” I often feel like a […]