Sunday, December 21, 2008

In which she eats Belgian chocolate to celebrate

Eppendork sometimes says her prayers, tries to be a good person, scientist and hot babe (although somedays being hot is tough work), apparently someone was listening.  By someone, I mean the non-denominational fk-up fairy, who by some miracle absented herself and her absence allowed Eppendork to find some superduper hot stuff in her data.  

Figure 1: What I would've been doing if there was any one left in my office this afternoon!

Quite possibly wetting myself with excitement sitting in front of the computer I spent the afternoon with pretty coloured christmas-like light bulbs going off in my head - thinking nobody has described this previously and its hot!  I love my science - even tho' sometimes I'm not in love with it - although currently Eppendork is thinking wholeheartedly lustful thoughts about her science and is swooning over most recent results.  Apparently it is the season!


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I love Science, no really

Lately Eppendork has been using a particular technique involving total genomic DNA (useful for sizing genomes and identifying genome structures).  It takes a really, really long time to carry out and it's between one to two weeks before you get your results.  The real snotty thing about this technique is you don't know if it has worked until the end.   Using this technique has made and continues to make Eppendork feel a bit bipolar - OMG it worked and it's beautiful (seriously when it works it is just that hot), oh wow how hot am I? Oh no - (general expletives) grrrrrr - how much time have I wasted on this?  Deep breath - figure out what went wrong - if I cant identify where the problem crept in - nuke everything, scorched earth, don't pass go - start at the beginning again.  Part of the problem is the buglets I am working with at the mo take a really, really long time to grow and are superduper fastidious so starting again is not as easy as it sounds.  And then it works like perfectly and I think - that's hot,  Eppendork doesnt think she would last being bipolar without drugs.

Figure 1: Science drives me to it - honest ocifer - honest

Eppendork has also been working on another project for almost a year now - with very little in the way of sucess or results to show for it.  I hate this inability to get it to do what it should and constantly think that I could have been the original Imposter Syndrome model.  Which is why when the previously mentioned technique (which tbh Eppendork is Gold at, infact Big Sci boss has said my results are the best he has seen, ever) doesnt work because of fastidious bugs or unknown problem I feel like such a dork and think why am I doing this?  

Never mind next challenge (Phizzle Dizzle which more resembles previous MSc work) starts end of January. Eppendork is ready.  Bring it on.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Figure 1: Giggling baby scientists

Eppendork wonders if the people who named the fucK and fecB genes giggled when they named them.

Just saying...


PS: Eppendorks current age 12 years and 2 months.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Twas 9 days before Christmas...

and all through the lab, was a sparkly shiney lab christmas tree....

And has Eppendork done any christmas shopping - no, no she has not.  Has Eppendork thought about buying christmas presents?  Only slightly - am currently disgustingly busy and oddly almost student poor so buying pressies is not a go-er at the moment.   Tbh I would be happy to arrive at Christmas morning with a Sauv in hand and mellow family type christmas, possibly a new book or two - although having said that Eppendork is trying to de-book herself and it is hard.  I love books and I have read many of them two or three times.  It is like giving away a bit of me.


PS: how cool is our lablab christmas tree??

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Dark Side

Eppendork loves to read - always has - in fact one holiday outing to a relatives house found me reading the recipe books because I hadn't taken anything to read.  My relative eventually said to my mother - you need to buy that girl a book.  Which was done in short course and mini-me was very happy.  
Figure 1: mmmm lovely books

Lately I have been reading a book entitled "The Unfortunate Experiment" by Sandra Coney about a horrific episode at a woman's hospital during the 1960s through to the mid eighties.  In short it follows the publication of this paper, and the aftermath of the realisation that women were not receiving treatment or adequate treatment for CIS nor for the progression to invasive cervical cancer.  The paper was the last ditch effort by the authors to get some discussion around the topic and to draw attention to the completely unethical behaviour of one particular Dr/Investigator (Herb Green).  Who operated under the misguided opinion that CIS does not lead to invasive cervical cancer and let no one challenge him nor what he was doing.  He flew in the face of increasing amounts of evidence to the contrary.  It led to a massive inquiry (the Cartwright inquiry) about gynalogical care for women at this hospital, and changed the face of treatment for this disease and other services offered to women.  

Which brings me in a round about way to talking about the absolute need for dissenting voices and a rigorus ethical debate before proceeding with any investigation that might contain animals or humans.   Had debate and defence taken place in the early stages of this investigation, the project just wouldn't have proceeded.   We need debate, we need dissent and we need to have the foresight to see what needs to be changed and then make those changes so we can do good, solid science.


P.S:  Eppendork realises that there is no ethics committee surrounding the ethical treatment of microbes.  What would it be called?  If it indeed existed, PETM? I realise it may sound silly but where do you draw the line and why?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

PS this IS cool

This is very cool:
Spatial organization of a replicating bacterial chromosome

Idit Anna Berlatzky, Alex Rouvinski, and Sigal Ben-Yehuda*
PNAS September 16, 2008 vol. 105 no. 37 14136-14140

Eppendork loves sexy science!


Holy bedazzled Gilson's Batman!

Eppendork realises that sometimes luck happens to you - as the universe offers you an opportunity and you can choose to pick it up and run with it or not. I also realise that sometimes luck is exactly of your own making through lots of hard work. Sometimes you are just in the right place at the right time and hold your tongue the right way. Often in science things or opportunities happen through serendipity - Eppendork puts her excellent MSc thesis and experience down to her homemade luck and a good dollop of serendipity and a whole whack of bloodymindedness. My thesis came about because I realised that what was on offer re my project wasn't going to push my buttons and keep me focussed (I have the attention span of a gnat - but that's what the internet is for) for two years. Eppendork knew the field she wanted to be in so cold called her future supervisor and low and behold there really was a project just waiting to be snapped up by a fabulous post-grad student such as herself. It helped that it was in a field that was well funded and the main technique was new and exciting, but if I hadn't picked up the phone to start with the story wouldn't be the same.

Figure 1: Mmmm now here's a recipe Eppendork can appreciate!

My PhD project has come about pretty much the same way - it helps when glorious supervisor A gives you a kick ass reference and new supervisor can see the potential in moi.  Eppendork thinks that when you see a spark of awesomeness in someone nurturing it and giving it the space to shine should be the only thing you do.


PS: Advice is just advice - if the recipient of said advice isn't listening then nothing is going to change not even a little bit.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hello and Welcome to Quitline..

Well actually Eppendork is not quitting Science, she has doubts as to whether she ever will (cross fingers, knock someone over the head with wood etc).   I am quitting my technician job to take up the phizzle dizzle on a gastrointestinal buglet, having just graduated with my MSc in another gastro buglet.  

Figure 1: Eppendork thinks it's ok to be angry every now and again

Eppendork however realises that labs can be really, really good or really, really bad and all of the baddness or goodness falls on the shoulders of the PI.  If the PI sucks a big fat hairy potatoe and spits battery acid and spite at his or her underlings (god forbid "colleagues") then anyone under them generally has a really crap time and the imposter syndrome kicks into overdrive until they quit, shift labs or become the embittered soul their PI is (because that is how they became the excellent scientist they are today.  This sort of crap annoys the bejesus out of Eppendork and she will give anyone who will listen an earful about it.  I mean seriously - how many really awesome scientists lose heart and are lost to the respective disciplines because of PI's with no real people or managerial skills.   Grrrrrr!  Sorry Eppendork forgot the PIs who micromanage their underlings - having witnessed this first hand (not at lablab, but in a lab where Eppendork was fortunate not to work) it also blows. 

Figure 2: Gratuitous shoe shot to lighten the mood - Pretty sparklies, pretty, pretty!

Eppendork would also like to bless the PI's who rock the house with their patience, understanding and good humour when dealing with baby science geeks such as herself.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

On the lurgy

Eppendork has spent the week feeling less than chipper, in fact down right blah.  She has been a mucous producing factory.  Producing copious amounts of the sticky stuff - she was just so damned attractive it defies words.  Many thanks go to the two persons - thing A and thing B whom carefully cultivated and shared said lurgy with me - I love you one and all.  No really, really I do.

That is all.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

That's hot

Possibly hotter than Dr Isis's naughty monkeys, but as it is already Dec 2nd Eppendork is too late (and currently soothing said sad moment with suitable chocolatey goodness).  However, this, is just that hot.  Now Microbes are my bag - my pretty, pretty, shiney sparkly bag, in particular bacteria, but viruses are too very, very sexy.  The Mimivirus is just that sexy.  It is huge.  Tbh Eppendork feels she needs to repeat herself - it is huge.   If you can see it under a light microscope on a Gram stained slide - its bigger than bigger, it's huge!   I love science - I love the confluence of events that happen so a 'discovery' can occur - what if they had never looked in the cooling tower?  Or in the amoeba for that matter.   Ok, so the Mimivirus challenges our perceptions about the size of viruses and just exactly what they should look like etc.  And Eppendork acknowledges that this is hot in, and of itself, but.....

Figure 2:  EM showing Mimivirus infected with Sputnik virophage

This is the really, really hot part of the Mimivirus - it has its own virophage - a virophage?  OMG how cool is that - drop dead, hotter than hot is that?  A virus that predates on a virus.  Eppendork realises that this may not excite every one , but still it's very, very cool (Eppendork may have said "oooooosssssshhhhh" when she first saw it)- and they called it Sputnik.

That's Hot!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Figure 1a: Eppendork looking fabulous and feeling fine
obviously not started her Phizzledizzle as of yet.....

Voila and I am here!  Eppendork has arrived with many thoughts a bustling to the fore and many streamers and pretty glitter sparklies floating down from the ceiling.  Eppendork is currently a molecular micro research technician at lablab, but who come 2009, will be packing her pretty patent leather pumps and bedazzled gilsons and heading over to the EU.