Biochem Blogs

Biochemistry blog, science writing

Grant submitted, now what?

Clay Clark

Clay Clark – @biochemprof
I'm on ScienceSeeker-Microscope

 

You’ve spent years in training. You’ve spent months developing a project, collecting preliminary data, publishing manuscripts, and training students. You’ve attended all of the grant-writing workshops. Hopefully you’ve followed our advice on a stress-free grant writing experience, and you’ve now spent weeks writing your grant, editing your grant, generating tables, graphs, and other figures for your grant. You successfully navigated the university grants office. And finally, FINALLY!!, after many years of hard work and sacrifice, you received an email from the granting agency confirming that they received your grant AND that all errors have been corrected. Whew!!

Not sure what to do now?

Relax.

We’ve mapped out your next steps. Just follow our template for a successful and rewarding career in academic research. Or, use the same template to be one of those guys. It all comes to the same end, one happy, one less so.

Flow chart of grant writing and research

Flow chart of grant writing and research

 

Lab techs rock

Clay Clark

Clay Clark – @biochemprofI'm on ScienceSeeker-Microscope

 

This little gem was sent to me in an email recently from a former student who had the official title of “lab helper.”

A lab tech’s job is a lot like taking care of a baby.

You need to regularly change the diapers, keep the toys clean and organized, and prepare the formulas.

Also, like a baby, a lab excretes a whole lot of crap.

I spent the day with Patrick Stewart

christie cade

Christie Cade I'm on ScienceSeeker-Microscope

I spent the day with Patrick Stewart.  Not the actor, though both are from England. Patrick Shaw Stewart, to be more specific. He’s one of the founders of Douglas Instruments Ltd. and was here to show us the Oryx, a robot designed for automation of microseeding in crystallography. I had never done microseeding before, much less with a robot, so it was really exciting to experience.

In crystallography you have a tray which has several wells in it. In the bottom of these wells is a reservoir solution which contains a precipitant. In a hanging drop experiment, the wells are sealed by glass cover-slips (such as those for microscope slides), and a protein drop hangs from the bottom of the cover-slip. In a sitting drop experiment, the protein drop sits on a pedestal in the well, and the well is sealed with packaging tape or something similar. In both cases, the protein drop contains protein mixed with a small amount of reservoir solution, which causes the drop to have a lower concentration of precipitant than the reservoir solution in the bottom of the well. Water slowly leaves the protein drop to try to equalize the concentrations of precipitant in the bottom of the well and in the drop. Eventually protein crystals form in the drop. These crystals can diffract x-rays and the diffraction pattern can allow us to solve a structure of the protein. Check out Peter Nollert’s excellent blog on protein crystallography for more information.

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The one-word professor goes to a committee meeting

Clay Clark

Clay Clark – @biochemprof I'm on ScienceSeeker-Microscope

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the one-word professor, although we heard that it took some time for him to recover from the “discussion” of evolution. TOWP insists on limited verbiage and has strict rules on how many words should be used to make a point. Usually one. Two at most. Three becomes a “conversation,” which should be avoided at all costs.

So, we were delighted to hear that TOWP was asked to cover a recent committee meeting for one of the senior faculty, because we knew that his synopsis of the meeting would be succinct, if not entertaining.

The story started with a one-way discussion between the senior faculty member and TOWP.

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Learning to speak IT

Clay Clark

Clay Clark – @biochemprofI'm on ScienceSeeker-Microscope

 

Recently one of our faculty contacted the IT department to inquire about how OIT (office of information technology) charges for network connections. OIT provides web services for the department, and we’re trying to understand how data and phone services are charged. Our assumption was that the more IP addresses used, the higher the charge. The response to our inquiry is below:

[Name redacted] got in touch with me and mentioned you were interested in how the rate for data network works.  The specific formula for allocating data networking expenses is based on salary expenditures [several accounts mentioned] within a unit. As each unit tends to utilize different methodologies for sharing the expense within the unit, we have generated a spreadsheet for each OUC (2-digit) showing the specifics of how the charge was derived accordingly to the following formula:

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A Happy Glucose Holiday Season

Clay Clark

Clay Clark – @biochemprof I'm on ScienceSeeker-Microscope

 

If you don’t believe in pathways, you might want to listen. Each year in his biochemistry class, Dr. Jim Knopp sings “the glucose song.” This year, he had special visitors from Ladies in Red, an all-female a cappella group associated with the Music Department at NCSU.

To kick off the holiday season, please enjoy The Glucose Song, as sung by Ladies in Red.

To see the lyrics:

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Timeline for stress-free grant writing

 

Clay Clark

Clay Clark - @biochemprof

It takes significant time and effort to write a research grant, and the process can be very stressful. If you’re a new faculty, you may have little experience planning a grant proposal and writing each section before the deadline. If you’re a more seasoned faculty, you may need help finding time in your busy schedule to write a grant.

Let us help. Follow our easy-to-use timeline for a stress-free grant writing experience. We show you when to complete each section, and we help you plan for a few incidentals that may come up before submission.

We can’t help you get funding, but we can make the grant-writing experience more pleasant.

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Sh*t graduate students say

Laura Edwards NCSU Biochemistry graduate student

Laura Edwards

 

“Why isn’t this working”? “Should we go get coffee”? “We have some of *this* in our sample.”

Here are a few phrases overheard in the NCSU Biochemistry department.

In the video: Laura Edwards, Annette Bodenheimer, Brian Rogers, Xun Lu.

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The one-word professor defends evolution

 

Clay Clark

Clay Clark - @biochemprof

An interesting discussion occurred on a popular social networking site following a post about evolution theory. The following represents excerpts from the discussion. Because The One-Word Professor believes that verbiage is overrated, his part of the discussion is succinct. We do, however, get to delve into the inner workings of TOWP’s mind. The content represents an actual discussion and was edited very little, because it’s funny enough on it’s own. Even though we (the editors) are at risk of a reader invoking Poe’s Law, we recreate the conversation for you here. While the conversation is humorous, the topic is quite serious since only ~40% of Americans believe in evolution.

Believer 1: All those evolutionists that “study science” are so smart. But seriously, who is more dumb, those who believe without question, or those that come up with crap answers? I guess I shouldn’t let the willing forgetfulness bother me.

TOWP: Hmmm.

Grant deadline next week. Have to edit and return paper by Friday. Hey, what the hell is this?? “Crap answers”? “Study Science”? Is he f***ing kidding? Leave it alone, TOWP. Leave it alone. (After several “likes” of the post) Aww sh*t, now I have to get involved.

Believer 1: It baffles me to see the unwillingness and laziness when it comes to actually thinking about how this incredibly complex world was made. I don’t think that scientists are dumb people, but it comes down to the point of accepting or rejecting the Truth. How can you start with goop and end up with this?

TOWP: Evolution?

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How faculty respond to bureaucracy

 

Clay Clark

Clay Clark - @biochemprof

By Clay Clark

 

New “Business” Units Increase Efficiency and Lower Costs

– But not if you’re Junior Faculty

 

 

how faculty respond to bureaucracy

Faculty Response to Bureaucracy