Saturday, July 14, 2018

A LONG Hiatus and Some Updates...

It has been a very long time since I have posted here---over a year!  Part of that had to do with personal issues (none of which are new; keep in mind that my loving and endlessly patient family make everything worthwhile).  But I am back, and hope to follow the rules that were given to me a long time ago:  try to post once a week.  

I will wait for the laughter to die down.

It's true I have never been good at that, but I intend to try harder.  I really do believe in #MicrobialPR, and though I remain a giant goofball in many ways, I aspire to be microbiology's giant goofball.

But despite any personal reverses, I have some positive news to share.

First, I now have a decent website for my lab and lab personnel to found here.  

I am still trying update it (particularly regarding former students), but it feels right.  Many, many thanks to Jacob Shaffer and Emily Grahn for helping me with this.  Aged canid, new tricks.

Next, my lab students were jealous that the great Pat Schloss calls his lab students, "Schlabbies."  That is pretty darned cool.  

Now, there has always been kind of a "space" theme to my research lab.  Vexed Muddler did a wonderful sketch of this.  The tardigrade with a hat is a nice tough, right?

And Ethan Kocak did a wonderful image for my lab students and yours truly, as well.
Doesn't #SciArt/#MicroArt rock?

So former lab member Kim Dill-McFarland came up with a name for my research students here in Tacoma:  "DocMartians."  That just makes me laugh.  So I had hats made. 

And my current students seem to like them.

Along with some former students, who have moved on to great things!

Dr. Frances Gilman, Vice-President of Research
and Development, Blue Marble Biomaterials
Dr. Kim Dill-McFarland, postdoctoral fellow University of British Columbia
Experiential Data Science for Undergraduate Cross-disciplinary Education (EDUCE)

Madison Cox, PhD student, Suen Lab, University
of Wisconsin Madison
Danielle Campbell, PhD student, University of Illinois at

Ruth Isenberg, PhD studnet, Mandel Lab,
University of Wisconsin Madison

#DocMartians for the win!

In September, I discovered that I had been given the Carski Foundation Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award.  The description here just floors me.  My institution wrote the award up kindly here.   

It all seems so completely surreal to me, and never so much more than seeing the list of former "Carski Laureates."  Bev Pierson was my predecessor here in the Biology Department at the University of Puget Sound.  And Syd Rittenberg?  He was my first microbiology professor when I was an undergraduate at UCLA.  Not to mention other luminaries, such as Jo Handelsman, Amy Vollmer, Graham Hatfull, and many, many other respected names.

These are giant shoes to fill.  Gulp.

At the ASM Microbe General Meeting in Atlanta in June, I gave the Carski Lecture.  It was again, surreal.  This is my artwork for the talk, courtesy again of Vexed Muddler.
I will be giving the talk again this month at ASMCUE, as a plenary speaker at the opening session. 

Finally, a collaboration I have had here at the University of Puget Sound with Dr. Stacey Weiss in my department has resulted in a fairly large NSF grant!  My institution wrote it up here.  It's a nice mix of new approaches to microbial ecology, as well as more standard assays for antimicrobial activity.

"Microbial Midwives"?  That has a ring to it, doesn't it?  Especially when you compare it to work with squid here.

So there has been a lot of nice stuff happening to mix with challenges. 

Watch this space for more current updates!