Sunday, February 26, 2012

I made baby heart cells!

And not baby as in I'm pregnant by any means, I made heart cells in a dish! Mouse heart cells! And they beat! I am calling them "baby" after the discussion with my PI over how these cardiomyocytes (ie baby heart cells) are not mature while the ones we have beating in our bodies are matures (and use a different system to beat than my baby heart cells).

Needless to say, cool way to end a week!

In other random news, due to my ambiguous status at local university, I have taken to introducing myself as "PI's student" for lack of any other way to describe myself seeing as I am a) not a med student there or b) a PhD student and thus lack a true status.

Anyways, more on life soon, I promise an EMS post!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Trying not to be nervous

With an upcoming interview I have been trying to calm my nerves with reading and as such as finally finished this book:

Can't say it helped with the nerves but it did strike my brain thinking again.

I remember being in high school, when we were still working out way through the Human Genome Project and my biology teaching was explaining what we knew about cancer then. I don't even remember what she was talking about but I am assuming it was oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes because I remember a question I asked. The Q & A went something like this:

Young EMT GFP: So if we know what genes go wrong in cancer, why can't we fix them or take them out and replace them with new ones?

Biology Teacher: I don't know, but I bet you will find that out someday.

I look back on that question now and realize what a profound question about cancer I managed to ask. I have no idea how I even put the pieces together but they are still questions we struggle with today in terms of cancer research. Granted, the questions are inevitably far more complex that what I asked in high school but while there will be no "magic bullet" cute for cancer, perhaps we can piece together smaller simpler answers that will help chip away at the beast.

There was a line in the last few chapters that described one scientist's way of looking a cancer as a function of his initial training. It rang true for me because my first job post undergrad was working in a research lab. It was an amazing experience but looking back, what I realize it did for me was take me from a budding molecular biologist who know scattered bits about a cells and gave me a system to think about.

My system became immunology and even now, years later working in a developmental lab, I can't help look at my work through the lens of the immune system. It has given me a lens to look a problems, work through them, learn from them. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it hinders, but I am learning to make it mine. Perhaps my next lens will be developmental or even stem cells. I will have to see where research takes me.

Though that of in itself is something I have been thinking about lately. I want nothing more than to get into med school. All of biological science makes more sense to me when observed through the lens of organ systems and body. Its all connected and seeing that picture makes me want to learn its details more. If there is anything my master's program taught me, this was it. But now its coming in direct contact with what I know I can do well, research.

I know many people can happily marry research and medicine, but until now I have always thought about it esoterically, as some far off future that I don't have to think about yet. A thought so far from the truth. What research I do now will build what I do in the future. I can use my research now as a spring board to future research, future jobs.

My P.I. has started to lay out paper ideas, paper ideas that can advanced basic science knowledge while working towards curing diseases. My mind has been running non-stop as to how to get these experiments going, I want them to be perfect, so that they have a real chance at working. Not because I want the papers, but because I hope someday it pans out and that a cure or at least a lasting treatment can be found. I want to see the faces of patients light up when they hear they are treated. No more drugs, no more tests, no more fearing for their life.

This, this is why I want to be a doctor, to fix people so that they may have a better life.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

6 Signs You Have Been at the Firehouse Too Long

1. You expect all vehicles (marked or not) with back up lights to also have back up alarms

2. You think the smell of a diesel engine/exhaust isn't that bad (bonus points if you have started to enjoy it)

3. You wake up in the middle of the night because the overhead radio had a neighboring station's prealert tones go off (just in case you are running a call with them)

4. You can't go to sleep without the hum of the exhaust system in the background

5. You can't wake up unless you hear the screech and chirp of SCBAs being tested at shift change.

6. You know where the secrete stash of the good coffee creamer is kept (bonus points if you don't even like coffee)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Scheduling Fail

Yeah.... I scheduled my medical school interview so it wouldn't be on a day that I taught.

Unfortunately I failed to check what I was doing in class that week. Review lectures AND giving an exam that week.

Guess who is using the weekend prior to write the exam in full instead of that Monday (while not on the calendar, Monday is an in lab day all day)!

I still think its better to have my interview earlier rather than later so busy week it is!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Is due to me trying not to freak out over the interview I have in two weeks. After spending so many times getting so close to medical school (okay once, last cycle) and not getting in, I HAVE to do well or I may well explode.

I want this more than anything and I can almost taste it.

So I must go fight off my demons (oh how you still try to haunt me), remember all the details of the research I have done, and polish up on selling myself humbly.

The US seriously need more medical schools and a more logical system into why people get into them.

Hopefully there will be at least one EMS story by the end of the week (I have so many back logged that just need a good typing!)

Also, any interview types are happily accepted.