Archive for June 2009

Job Update

Posted on: June 18/09

I have now been at my new job for 2 months. Compared to my old job at the bank, it’s definitely more relaxing (no crazy long line-up of customers), flexible (no one monitors my start, end, and lunch time), and slack. Yes, slack! Partly because my supervisor was away on the other side of the Earth for a month and partly because the lab technician is so lazy. It’s quite hilarious, actually. I usually arrive at work around 9:30, but we usually don’t get around to starting anything until 10:00. What do we do to fill up time? Why, of course our best friend the internet can help! For me these few weeks that my supervisor was gone, my only immediate tasks were to 1) isolate DNA from blood, 2) “play around” with this new analysis program that we got, and 3) do background reading relevant to my research topic…so as you can see, there is really nothing in pressing urgency for me to do since I have already completed the DNA isolations.

As a side note, let me do a little bit of brief introduction on my research project(s). In a nutshell, it is looking at the genetics of asthmatics, or people with asthma. Basically, there are 2 types of asthmatics: ones who have only an immediate early reaction, and ones who also have another response a few hours later. These are called early and dual responders. The main thing that I will be looking at is to see if there are any correlations in the genes and proteins that may help explain these differences in response patterns. By doing so, we can show that the late response may be due to a differing pathway, to which therapies can target specifically. Another side project is to look at the minor variations in the genes of babies to see if any of these may lead to higher risks of developing asthma. That was why I performed the DNA isolations.

Anyway, back to non-scientific things (I hope I didn’t lose anyone :P). I have many funny stories to tell of the lab tech…too many to list out here in fact, but I’ll share a bit. You see, he is this happy slacker Chinese man who an accent and not great grammar. Not that I am being racially discriminate (I am Chinese too!) but he really adds to the fun(ny) environment of the lab…without realizing it! For instance, he says that starting actual work at 10:00 is “too early” and that when it gets to 4:30 he “gets nervous”…he just wants to go home. Also, he thinks that we shouldn’t do too much work in a day and we should “control our pace” instead. HAHA! Lastly, almost every other words that he says, he accompanies it with these absolutely hilarious hand gestures and sound effects that come naturally to him…I just crack up so often, but he never realizes that I am actually laughing at how funny his character is! 😛

Another highlight about my position as a research student so far is that within my first short month here, I have already had the chance to travel…FREE OF CHARGE!!! The location was Montreal. The purpose? To attend a research conference for trainees. Although it was short (3 days 2 nights), I really thoroughly enjoyed it! I got to meet people from all over the universities of Canada who are also doing allergy research. Of course, I also did a bit of sight-seeing in Montreal. It was a shame that during the day, we had to attend the talks…but I kinda managed to complete my speed sight-seeing of downtown afterwards in 5.5 hours (5:30 – 11:00). My roommate and I walked super fast and we hit up most of the highlights of downtown Montreal, including McGill University, Notre-Dame, and the Old Port. We also managed to take the subway successfully, on our own, to visit the BioDome, where the Olympics took place a while back. Pictures here~

If there was ever a chance to travel to a conference again (for free), I’d definitely want to go! In the meantime, maybe I should pick up some slack and do more background reading instead of going on the internet so much at work! 😛


June 2009
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