Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dear Diary, Let's Talk Research Proposals

A journal of preparing for the research proposal presentation:

Early May:
Juan and I are deciding what specific research idea to use for our proposal.  We talked to Belcher and Shannon about some of our ideas, and we are leaning towards Ebola research.  Or we could engineer super human babies.  But no, probably Ebola.  

May 5th 2015, 11:00 pm:
Today, people are presenting their project proposals!  They are all awesome!!!

It is intriguing to see the wide variety of ideas people have come up with – from HIV to reducing wrinkles, everyone’s tackling big ideas.  And they are doing so with viable knowledge and well thought out plans! I mean, damn course 20.  We’re basically reversing aging, curing HIV, and improving CRISPR.  Can’t wait till Juan and I can cure Ebola.  We feeling that Nobel Prize. 

May 5th , 5:00 pm:
The heck are we doing with our project?!?!  We were going to cure Ebola, but God, our cure is to give all those poor Ebola-infected children in Africa bone marrow transplants?  We can’t do that, that’s ridiculous.  What are we thinking?! Oh no!

May 5th, 5:15 pm:
Okay Shannon set us straight.  We don’t need to perform bone marrow transplants on anybody.  We just need to figure out what sequences we can target in the Ebola receptor.  Cool.  Smooth sailing from here. 

May 9th, 11:00 am:
Juan and I are meeting on this fine Saturday morning to discuss details of our project.  Wait, we got to figure out the engineering component for our proposal.  Directed evolution perhaps?!  Ok, how do we mutate the receptor? What will be our assay?! How do we control against loss of expression mutations? How do we repeat it?! Juan and I are sort of on different pages.   Oy vey....

May 10th, 10:00 pm
We prepared slides.  Juan’s slides are very impressive.  Wow, I feel okay about this presentation.  Go team green! :)

May 11th, 2:30 pm
I’m about to enter office hours.  This is where it gets real.  Either I’ll come out feeling slightly reassured, or I’ll come out with all my hopes and dreams crushed.  It's very daunting.  Who knows what this portal holds for me.  Here we go. 

May 11th, 3:30 pm
Office hours were successful.  My questions were answered, and I worked out the little kinks.  Except now Juan and I have many smaller things to look up – many details that we can’t let slip through the cracks.  My personal favorite, I was told to compare sequences using the BLAST program.  Mod 1, here I come again. 

May 11th, 10:15pm
Juan and I are meeting to go over last minute details and practice the presentation.  The slides have come together nicely.  But wait, we still need some details worked out.  Where are we going to study ebola.  Well, apparently every BL4 lab ever is either under construction or in an old building, so I guess we’re stuck with working in Montana.  Freaking Montana.  I guess it might be worth it to discover a way to cure ebola...

May 12th, 1:00 am
Juan and I are calling it a night.  We outta here.  

May 12th, 11:00 am
T minus 3 hours to presentation time.  Juan and I are rehearsing again and again.  Overall, we are doing okay.  Juan puts his cereal spoon in his pocket, where it awkwardly sticks out.  He jokes about accidentally leaving it in there for the presentation. 

May 12th, 4:30pm:
My notes for the presentations:
Reads: Purple Team - Curing Cancer
Blue team - Combatting TB
Orange Team - Stopping HIV
Yellow Team - Engineering better prosthetic limb control
aka making better cyborgs to rule the world. 
Wow, everyone is so amazing!!! I think everyone’s going to win a Nobel prize!!!  Damn course 20 J  And thank goodness we are done!!!  These proposals were stressful and took a lot of planning and preparing.  However, it is very rewarding to propose a novel idea on the forefront of bioengineering.  And wow, we are done with 109.  It's a very bittersweet feeling!! Never will I ever have to struggle through those mods again, but heck, I think I'll miss the projects and people a little bit....

P.S.  Juan left the spoon in his pocket for the presentation. 

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