Lab Blog

From time to time I will try and post news, commentaries, and events that happen in the daily life of a research lab. As I am pretty busy working in the lab - managing the projects, taking care of cells, mice and experiments - these postings will not be on a regular basis. However I try to update the blog as often as I can. So, please be patient and enjoy my little intellectual(?) tidbits. Please email me for any comments, suggestions or concerns you may have.
Please also read the disclaimer.
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In the works
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Analysis
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Images
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Science
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Experiments
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Organization


October 2, 2017

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On refurbishing old goodies

We have got a 'new' toy in the Department. A refurbished Ionoptix microscope! And last week it saw 'first' light...




August 12, 2017

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On getting thanked

Allyson Xie, a high-school volunteer for the last year left this week for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Thank you for the help, the farewell picture, and good luck from all in the lab!




June 15, 2017

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On attending the ISHR 2017

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the International Society for Heart Research (ISHR) meeting in New Orleans. Here are some impressions from the Early Career Investigator events that happened at the meeting.



Read more >


May 6, 2017

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On academic spam

One of the constant nuisances of having an academic email account is the ever increasing levels of spam emails you get from supposedly (open access) 'journals' and 'conferences' (with international standing). Both come usually with grand titles, like. . . Read more >


April 22, 2017

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On marching for science

March for Science SD Pictures
March for Science SD Pictures
March for Science SD Pictures
Some of the pictures I took today at the March for Science event in San Diego! Quite the turnout!


February 27, 2017

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On celebrating Jordan's manuscript

opening of the bottlebobble head

There is reason to celebrate - and that is exactly what we did! The manuscript that Jordan, Paige and Andy worked for is finally available online! Congratulations, and cheers to many more manuscripts to come!


November 7, 2016

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On going green

We aim to do sustainable research to preserve the planets resources. With the help of Jordan, Valeria and Patrick we launched the green lab initiative in our lab, and are now an officially certified 'green lab' at UC San Diego (and have a certificate to prove it).

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green lab certificate

More information on the green lab initiative can be found at GreenLabs@UCSD and my green lab.


September 30, 2016

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On the AMC meeting

We organized and participated at the AMC meeting in San Diego. More information can be found on the meeting homepage: amclub.us


September 17, 2016

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On the 'return of the beast'

I am used to keeping things running and operational in the department.
One thing I never imagined I had to (yet again) do is to try and mend one of these gel imagers back into working conditions. . . Read more >


September 11, 2016

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On the academic big brother

I usually receive emails from the UC bureaucracy on a daily basis, and most of the time I can easily enough ignore them. However, a couple of months ago there was an email that was different from the usual meeting announcements, new hires for whatever dean position or news highlights of UC faculty appearing in national and international newspapers/shows/journals. Read more >


June 11, 2016

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On old goodies.

We had our fare share of old and aging equipment, some of which was home built, and being held together by duct tape and tape-rolls. Although I did not miss these instruments too much, today I retired one of our better microscopes. An Olympus DeltaVision deconvolution microscope that has served this Department for the last ~15 years.

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Read more >


May 25, 2016

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On Paige's Masters Thesis Defense.

Good news all around after Paige successfully defended her Masters Thesis this morning! We also prepared a special cap for her with a muscle and a (motor)neuronal cell that stick together to form a neuromuscular junction to celebrate the new Master of Science!



May 24, 2016

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On something in the making...



Apr 27, 2016

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On the 2016 ISHR

And there we are again. Time for this years International Society for Heart Research Conference. This time it's the 2016 ISHR World Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, as opposed to a national North American Section meeting. Hence, the motto for the congress was a rather fitting. . . .
Read more >


March 10, 2016

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On ~ARGH~

Argh. Paper I have been working on for last 2 years (submit/revise/reject-cycle) finally resubmitted! At the stage where I'm sick of it...


February 9, 2016

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On getting inspired by one of the best ad campaigns to promote the next AMC



February 4, 2016

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See also related entry from 07/30/13
and related entry from 08/22/13

On antibodies

Uh oh - looks like my plight with antibody issues (see related entries in my blog here and here) made it into the February edition of The Scientist magazine. Read the article here...

The Scientist


December 15, 2015

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On the 2015 ASCB



Oct 11, 2015

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On reviewing - part 1

One of the 'duties' for scientists is to review the manuscripts of other researchers. It's called the famed and feared 'peer-review process'. Although I have been in this 'business' for some time, I am by no means a full time reviewer of manuscripts. . . .
Read more >


October 8, 2015

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On the 2015 European Muscle Conference



Sept 13, 2015

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See also earlier entry 06/30/13

On this years AMC

For this years Alternative Muscle Club (US edition) the lab went to Tucson, Arizona. I've been involved in the organization of the 2013 and 2014 AMC meetings here in San Diego. And I have to say this years main organizers Stefanie Novak and Sabine van Dijk did an absolutely marvelous job in preparing the event and making sure that. . . .
Read more >


July 15, 2015

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On Lauren showing off data



June 9, 2015

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On presenting "obscure" data at this years ISHR


So I attended this years ISHR meeting in Seattle to present some of the new data we got on the obscurin project. And I have to say that. . . .
Read more >


April 25, 2015

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On Undergraduate Researchers presenting - all three of them!


Paige Shapiro, Lauren Waller and Stephanie Myers (left to right in the picture) presented data from each their projects at the 28th undergraduate research conference at UCSD. Here are links for more information and the 2015 URC program.


April 4, 2015

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See also earlier entry 09/17/14
Updated 04/07/15
Updated 04/30/15

On deadlines

I have not written a blogpost in quite a while. This is mostly owed to the fact that there have been several major grant deadlines, deadlines for student applications, deadlines for fellowship applications, and deadlines to not miss any other deadlines. So what came out of all the deadline 'frenziness'? . . . .
Read more >


December 16, 2014

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On moving (yet again)

It became quite busy at the bench over the last 6-7 months. With Jordan, Alex, two-three undergraduate and high-school students and myself (more or less) constantly present, the space was getting somewhat tight.
So when the opportunity came up to move . . . .
Read more >


November 22, 2014

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Undergraduate Researchers in action at this years SCCUR meeting


Paige Shapiro and Lauren Waller presented their work in a poster at the undergraduate research conference at CalState Fullerton. See the program of this years Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research meeting here.


September 17, 2014

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On writing for the future (or not)

Argh. The dreaded grant writing season has caught up with me. After the lulled blissfulness of nearly four years on the K99/R00 grant I have to start writing a big NIH research grant (R01) to justify my continued existence and future here at UC-San Diego (if any).. . .
Read more >


July 27, 2014

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On the postdocalypse

I've been following several blogs from scientists around the world (my favourites being in the pipeline, RRResearch, mindthegap and NoComment). Another blogger that I've discovered some time ago is Ethan Perlstein, a Harvard trained PhD who got a prestigious postdoc grant to join Princeton and run his own lab. Browsing through the web on a very hot sunday afternoon I was shocked and surprised to discover. . .
Read more >


June 30, 2014

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On working while watching



June 4, 2014

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On undergraduate researchers presenting data

There is always time for firsts... Here we have - for the first time - one of the undergraduate researchers in the lab presenting some of her and Alex' data during the 'undergraduate researcher biology showcase' at UC San Diego.




May 18, 2014

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On receiving a plaque

I presented data on one of our projects during this years International Society for Heart Research (ISHR) conference. And it won us a plaque... Wohoooo!
Of course the work was done in collaboration with people working in the lab, most notably Alex, collaborating scientists from the UK - Elisabeth Ehler, and the US - Ju Chen, Kirk Peterson, Nancy Dalton and Erika Alvarez. So a big thank you extends to all people involved in this work.
Read more >


May 8, 2014

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On getting the lab together

The lab has been growing quite a bit over the last couple of months. We have three new excellent undergraduate researchers - Stephanie Myers, Paige Shapiro and Lauren Waller - who joined the lab in January/February of this year. And last week we welcomed Jordan Blondelle as a new postdoctoral scholar.
Read more >


March 22, 2014

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On the death and rebirth of a webserver

I noticed for a couple of days that my trusty mac mini G4 that holds all the information for this website seems to have gotten a 'cold'. The computer was wheezing more than usual and I assumed that centuries a decade of dust in the ventilator finally clogged up something rather vital.
Read more >


March 6, 2014

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On the grande opening (or so)

There are few opportunities when we have UC celebrities in house. The official opening of a brand-new $190M building (no kidding on the price tag!) falls certainly under the category of 'need to attend' for local dignitaries. And so it was no surprise that the current UC-president . . .
Read more >


February 28, 2014

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On interesting times

One of my favourite authors wrote a novel that starts with the (originally chinese) proverb/curse: "may you live in interesting times".
Well, the last three months have been somewhat 'interesting' indeed. From deadlines to submit the R00 first year progress report, to deadlines to submit abstracts for meetings (Biophysics meeting in San Francisco), to deadlines to submit research proposals for two very talented undergraduate researchers Stephanie Myers and Paige Shapiro, to a rather silly rebuttal/letter to the editors 'death-match' in BRAIN that I got drawn into . . .
Read more >


November 1, 2013

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On changing times

I know there was a long pause between recent entries in my little blog. Times are just a little crazy here lately, with people leaving, manuscripts are due (or more precisely over-due), and the move to the new building gaining traction.
Read more >


September 30, 2013

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On getting the word out

Our small article on the Alternative Muscle Club conference just got published in the ASCB Newsletter (page 31).


September 3, 2013

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On new things to come

Well; it seems to be official. The division of (Basic) Cardiology is soon moving into a brand-new building across the road from our 'old' lab-space in the BSB. Here are some pictures that I took last week during a quick visit of the building site.
Read more >


August 22, 2013

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See also earlier entry 07/30/13

On antibodies - case III

A couple of months back we started looking into phosphorylation levels of HDAC proteins for one of our projects. HDAC's (or Histone Deacetylases) are enzymes that remove acetyl-moieties from lysine residues of posttranslationally modified proteins. And, unlike the name suggests, HDAC's are responsible to deacetylate a whole load more substrate proteins than just . . .
Read more >


AUGUST 12, 2013

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On keeping things running

Most of the equipment in the lab is older then the undergraduates we have working in the lab. And the age of some of the instruments shows as of late 'real bad'. Take for example the microscopes and gel imaging systems. We have a bunch of high-end instruments that I have taken over to either 'assemble' them in the first place, or . . .
Read more >


JULY 30, 2013

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Updated 08/10/13
Updated 09/03/13

On antibodies - cases I & II

There is a HUGE problem in science with antibodies. EVERYONE knows it and EVERYONE ignores it / pretends not to know or care. As long as you get a band at approximately the right size (or not) in a Western or some sort-of-specific staining in immunofluorescence the world is peachy - and your figures are good for publication.
However, it starts to look really bleak once you start 'looking behind the curtain'. . .
Read more >


JULY 13, 2013

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On getting feedback

Gretchen from the "TEAM" that organized the "Alternative Muscle Club" meeting has been working on an online form to get some feedback from attendees. Nearly a week has passed since we sent out the email. And its time to see some results. . .
Read more >


JULY 10, 2013

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On Setting up the website

Over the last couple of days I've been working in my spare time to get the website started. I have a little experience in this, as I worked on the homepages of the Ju Chen Lab, and the AMC meeting. . .
Read more >


JUNE 30, 2013

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On Organizing the AMC

There are few things more harrowing than doing something for the first time. In this case I came up with the crazy idea of organizing a meeting in the style of the "Alternative Muscle Club" meetings I came to know and like when I was back in the UK. While it has taken me several years to start in ernest, the call for applications for the organization of 'local meetings' from the ASCB gave it the final push forward.
And sure enough. . .
Read more >




Disclaimer

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author (and those providing comments) of this blog are his alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of the School of Medicine, UC-San Diego or any employee thereof. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability or validity of any information presented on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.