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Genecks

Research project is closing. I have an opportunity to do something else.

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So, with the current research group I'm with, the current project is closing up. As such, I'm going to be given an opportunity to do something different. I suspect they could put me at the microscope again, but having spoken to the other guys who have been at the microscope, particular projects can be the same thing over, and over, and over again for a year and a half. As such, I don't want to be looking at the same tissue over and over and over again for another year.

 

I've been looking layer II neurons in the piriform cortex of mouse brain.

 

And that gets really boring after a while. True, I've gained some skills with looking at, finding, refinding, and examining neural tissue... but the equipment sucks, and the data collected are ehhh in my opinion. I've considered what a GFP would look like, but targeting only layer IIs doesn't seem like a practical reality. Maybe there is a way, but I wouldn't know what the way would be. I think if I was looking at a selective (or not so abundant) GFPs rather than Golgi stains, data would be better.. Golgi stains selectively stain a limited number of neurons (which means there isn't a mass of green glow that cannot allow a person to determine the physical characteristics of a single neuron)

 

Anyway...

 

I do my best, though, because that's what a scientist is suppose to do: get the best data you can.

 

So, one thing that peeves me is the lack of objectivity. The other is that I'm literally sitting down for about two hours at a time. Looking at a screen, moving the X-Y knobs of the microscope, and just getting really bored measuring neuronal aspects over and over and over again. I would like to move around a lot more even if the actions are repetitive, such as putting video games into security cases (I've done this for 6 hours in a row for multiple weeks before; I hated it, but I dislike the microscope stuff a lot more now).

 

So, I have a couple of options:

1) Do microscope stuff again (*grinds teeth*)

2) Do genotyping stuff (sounds cool and modern)

3) Do behavioral work with mice (I need to be at particular places at particular times of the day, as such I have to build it into my schedule).

 

With the microscope stuff, I can come in at 12 midnight and get to work. Nice feature, really, as college studies don't lend themselves to me getting done with everything as fast as I would like to when I want to.

 

Again, I'm unsure if I should attempt to build histology as a skill. Then again, seeing as how it can be the same thing for a year in a row, I don't really consider that skill building. I consider that doing the same thing for a year in a row and gaining only one new skill; and that seems like a pathetic thing to me. Not only that, but I'm interested in gaining marketable skills, because I'm economic like that.

 

I'm unsure what to do. I think maybe learning genotyping is a good skill that can be used in a lot of different fields, but I'm still interested in the behavioral work.

 

Ideas on what I should do?

 

Personally, I think I should try to get to know as much about the new skill I could be taught and choose the most marketable one.

Edited by Genecks

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The truth of research is that generally you do sit there doing the same thing over and over again.

However, if you're looking to build up your skill set, that's generally not a profitable use of your time. I'm not sure what point you are with your academic career, but you should be careful you don't become "jack of all trades, master of none". You gotta start considering what you ultimately want to end up doing and build up a skill set that will suit that.

I'm a biochemist but I spent last semester doing genetics work (which I dislike), because most cell biochemistry projects will require a small amount of genetic manipulation.

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...I'm a biochemist but I spent last semester doing genetics work (which I dislike), because most cell biochemistry projects will require a small amount of genetic manipulation.

 

I read a while back how you like using pipettes (I follow your blog a little). So, I understand you weren't too fond of the repetition of it all.

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I read a while back how you like using pipettes (I follow your blog a little). So, I understand you weren't too fond of the repetition of it all.

 

 

My brother really hated that part of his PhD project. Too repetitive and so many samples went wrong for no apparent reason.

 

Anyway, what ever happens I hope you do well and go on to something you enjoy. Best of luck.

Edited by ajb

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Has someone done extensive enhancer trap lines in mice? I would expect they have. If so, you should be able to target GFP to your tissue of interest by placing it under the control of the right enhancer. Most enhancer trap lines already use GFP, so that would make it even easier. Then you could see your cells much easier under a confocal laser microscope.

 

You could also use immunolocalisation to target those cells, if there is some protein known to be expressed only in those cells. Or you could use in situ hybridization with mRNAs expressed only in those cells. You'd have to do the detective work to find those targets if they have been described.

 

When I have to do repetitive work I listen to audiobooks on my mp3 player. After a while at the microscope though, just the manual repetition and sitting in the same posture gets uncomfortable.

 

Genotyping sounds like the most fun out of all of those things.

Edited by Blahah

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You have to learn to like the repetitiveness, otherwise there's no point doing research. For example, not every experiment is going to "work" first time round...or second..or third..or...

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@Greippi

 

Yeah, I guess so. What I dislike is just doing one thing, that particular thing, for a good year. I would like to be able to maybe switch up at most two things biweekly (if not each month), then I could get at more than one skill. Really, I think it's good to have a person try different things. Then a person can be evaluated for what he/she is good at. There are many things I'm good at, and I don't know it until I try them out. So, definitely, I'm a believer in making a person do a lot of different things and then narrowing what kind of speciality a person should be handed.

 

I've recently been offered to do some computer stuff for another group of neuroscientists, but I suspect it will be data entry (their focus is on exploring siRNAs--which I'd love to know more about). Perhaps I will join two research groups in the near future, but I am uncertain at the moment.

 

Has someone done extensive enhancer trap lines in mice? I would expect they have. If so, you should be able to target GFP to your tissue of interest by placing it under the control of the right enhancer. Most enhancer trap lines already use GFP, so that would make it even easier. Then you could see your cells much easier under a confocal laser microscope.

 

You could also use immunolocalisation to target those cells, if there is some protein known to be expressed only in those cells. Or you could use in situ hybridization with mRNAs expressed only in those cells. You'd have to do the detective work to find those targets if they have been described.

 

When I have to do repetitive work I listen to audiobooks on my mp3 player. After a while at the microscope though, just the manual repetition and sitting in the same posture gets uncomfortable.

 

Genotyping sounds like the most fun out of all of those things.

 

That sounds really awesome. I'll look into it when I get some more time. About the only gene entry system I've learned about in the past while is how Staphyloccous aureus conducts gene therapy on itself (I've been told this by a geneticist whom is researching these aspects). As such, I figure if he can unlock the mechanisms of that, then maybe it can be applied to eukaryotic systems.

 

Again, thank you, all.

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