PhD Grind: I’m so Extra?? 

Random but important !!

Don’t ever let people make you feel bad for spending time on your notes/making your notes look more etc. Our even something you’re doing in your current endeavors. So many times I’ve had people say ‘that’s a waste of time’ or ‘you’re so extra’ and it just like….. Wtf. 

If spending an extra 2-5 minutes to make your notes look a little organize is going to help you learn them better, or even if it just makes studying tolerable then that’s okay??? Keep doing it!! 

There’s honestly no worse people than the people who will try and make you feel bad about doing something you want to do. 

One more year….

I officially have one more year left on my current contract with the Army National Guard. Overall, the experience has been great for me. I’ve enjoyed the challenges, and the opportunities this path gave me, but now I really have to start thinking do I want to stay in or do I want to get out. 

The tempo in my life is starting to pick up fast. I will be getting my masters degree this year, and the university been working me harder than ever. A lot of the time I feel so burnt out, so now I’m looking to cut out some things in my life and the Army is one of those options. The Guard is no more just a weekend a month, two weeks out of the year. There’s so much orders and other work going on in between drills, it’s crazy. I believe the only way I would stay in the guard is if I pursued to be aviation officer. I honestly had no time to work on. That because I’ve been so busy. 

In the end, I’m sure everything will balance out and I’ll be where I’m suppose to be at the end of the day. Until then I just gotta keep grinding. 

Biology Questiones I Get Asked That Make Me Facepalm!

One thing I don’t like doing is talking about my job or academic subjects that involves my grad school courses because they already take up an enormous part of my life. When I’m out and about I want to do/talk something that’s completely unrelated. However, one of the 1st questions you’ll get asked when meeting someone new is: What do you do for a living? And here is when I give a gentle smile and tell the induvial I do research for a university, and pray I don’t get bombarded with crazy questions. Just to be clear, I’m not the type to put people beneath me because I think my job is more “prestigious” than others, but lately though I’ve been getting some crazy questions. Mind you that most of these questions comes from when I’m at a bar downtown with my friends watching football games or hanging out, but here are some of my favorite questions I got asked before.

A man around his 40s asked “That’s amazing my dude… Tell me though. What’s the boiling point for semen?” I literally almost spit up my vodka. What kind of research do you actually think I do at the uni?! What really got me is that this guy acted like he was genuinely offended that I didn’t know this and questioned my whole existence as a biologist. Put down that martini. That’s enough alcohol for you old man.

This girl that claims she was in human anatomy was talking about baby gender determination. It all went downhill when she asked this question. “If two lesbians have a baby, does it automatically come out as a girl?” At first, I was totally convinced that this girl was trolling me, but it became clear that she was dead serious when she was cursing me out and getting red because I told her that two lesbians can’t have a child because an egg and an egg can’t produce an offspring. Till this day I’m still confused on what the fuck happened back then.

At one of my coworker’s party I was describing how to do simple stoichiometry for finding out how much of a particular chemical is produced in some cycle. He then asked. “Oh wait! So .5 and a half are the same thing?” ……. Why yes ….Yes it is…Mr. Lawyer guy.

Anyways. That’s three that I find myself still shaking my head over. Sometimes very interesting conversations can come up, but not in these cases.

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My 1st proposal to bring stem cell research to my uni!

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Above is the 1st page of 46 that makes up my proposal to start doing stem cell research at my work.  I’ve been working on it since December gathering all the facts I need to pitch this to the research department.

I have high hopes for this to get implemented, but like anything else, I sometimes get doubts. The budget is way more than the other projects we currently have going on here, so I’m hopeing they’re not going to get turned off by the cost. There’s plenty resources that would help us fund for this research. Other thing is you may of heard about the controversy around stem cells. You can create artificial stem cells without harvesting them for embryos, but Texas is a very conservative state. Politics may shoot my proposal down before it even have a chance. I believe the majority on the research board wouldn’t think like that, and it won’t be a factor. Lastly, I have a bachelor’s degree, and not a PhD. Top it off I haven’t been working here for a year yet. They may look at me and say I’m naive because I’m still pretty new, and the whole nine yards. The content of my proposal should silence the no-sayers on that issue.

I always overhear conversations changing the direction of the research here to be more ambitious. Even if my proposal fail, I believe it will get nging our approach  on the matter. Dr. Bennett looked over it and said I should definitely submit it, so by the end of this week it shall be done.

A huge thank you to my parents. They emailed, texted, and called me everyday to keep developing this proposal. I maybe live 9hrs away, but the support haven’t changed since I was a dorky 6 year old with my crazy ambitions. Also, thank you Bella, Clay, Anna, Rosilia, Liz, Jamie, Allie, Dr. Bennett, Dr. Lawson, Terrance, Terrell, Pat, Ju, Stephanie, Dr. Williams, and Jared for your direct support during all of this. I may be going overboard on the thank you, but I appreciate you guys!

Progress of my microbio bacteria research here at work!

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So the bacteria that I am currently working with is called C.perfringens and is a common soil bacteria that is also found in association with mammals as a commensal and sometimes as a pathogen. There are five serotypes (A-E), each associated with a set of different diseases and target organism which is either a mammal or poultry. C.perfringens is capable of producing up to 16 different toxins, although these are rarely expressed all at once. It is a saprophyte, so decays dead matter – hence most of its toxins are hydrolytic enzymes. The most common diseases caused by C.perfringens is food poisoning and necrotic enteritis (chickens).

It is also the fastest growing bacteria, with a doubling time of 10 minutes (E.coli’s doubling time is 20 minutes). It is an obligate anaerobe which makes it tricky to grow. I have to essentially streak it out onto TSC agar and then add a second layer of agar on top of that to create a highly anaerobic microenvironment. I also need to leave these microbes in an anaerobic chamber over night to completely remove any possible source of oxygen from their surroundings.

The final thing I want to mention is the TSC media I use to grow them. This media contains a source of sulphite which C.perfringens is able to reduce which is what causes the bacteria to show up black on these plates. They are one of the few Clostridia that can reduce sulphite, so this media acts as a differential media for C.perfringens.

-JiNX
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Selling out?

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I guess my twitter has grown big enough to attract local businesses. I’ve been getting tweets and Dms for me to come and check out their place of business. Most of the are local bars that’s near my home in downtown Austin, Texas. Other have been local dealerships about vehicles. At 3.2k followers on twitter I don’t feel like my sphere of influence is big enough to do these collaborations. Through my social media it’s easy to find out that I work for Texas University, and that may also be a factor.

Most of the offers is for me come in their place of work and do a “review” on my blog and shout them out a few times on Twitter. I’m conflicted, I’m currently planning to live in Austin for many years to come. I have a great job here at Texas University and I can really imagine myself working 30+ years here. I don’t want to get stuck in the situation where the company treat me, but the food/services is horrible. I would feel obligated to write a positive review about them because you usually get it for free, but I’m not going to lie or sugar coat something because I got it for free. Which may result in hostile tensions if I ever decided to try it again if it’s under the same management. It would be one thing for me to go to another city and do it because it would be highly unlikely for me to travel out the way to visit them. Also, I don’t want to review anything and they drag the University name all in it. It should be just like this blog. My thoughts are my own alone and do not reflect the views of anyone or anything beyond that fact.

I’m holding off on it for now and will probably never collaborate with a company in that manner. Until then I will continue to explore Austin with my friends and if I end up loving a place I will share it via my social media.

-JiNX
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Busy, Busy Bee!

It’s definitely been awhile since the last time I blog. Seems like the closer I get to Christmas, the more busier I get. I leave to go to Costa Rica on the 21st and I haven’t done anything to prepare for the trip, as far as packing and making sure everything is in order before I make the trip. Hopefully, by the end of this weekend I will have posted couple blog at least 5; Trap Fest, Crown the Empire concert, The Renaissance Festival, Thanksgiving and my Birthday. With that being said I have to run a few errands. Will try and post tonight if we don’t go to the sports bar to watch the game tonight and also questions that are in my ask.fm

I decided I’m going to stay here in Austin and work for Texas University. I love my research team here and Austin in my opinion is the best city in Texas. Living downtown cost a shit load, but for me it’s so worth it. Family and friends are good and Jamie and I made it official about a week ago. Whenever we go out somewhere, it’s always a great time and best of all, there is no drama. Her family matches mines with how goofy they can be at times. It’s true when they say you’ll find someone when you’re aren’t looking at all. I really had no intention of getting into another relationship for the rest of this year and just enjoy the holidays, but I’m glad that I took her offer when she asked me out on a date. Everybody is giving me shit for it because people still don’t think it’s normal for women to ask a man out if shes interested in him. It’s playful teasing on both side of the family on who wears the pants, etc, etc.

Remember guys, this is the season of giving. Gives till it hurts! Jamie and I will be volunteering this weekend at a local hospital to spread some holiday cheer. No matter at what capacity you can give, do it!  As I said I will try and post at least again tonight. You guys be cool, stay safe and much love!

-JiNX
twitter.com/anolecreole
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