Monday, February 23, 2009

HeLa cells and HPV

Science researchers are always exposing themselves to certain risks. It is important to recognize these risks and be safe so as to not contaminate themselves. Having started a new job, I have been attending many different safety training sessions so that I know how to behave myself. Most things are a repeat of what I was told in grad school. But I did learn something new today.

HeLa cells are a VERY commonly used cell line in cancer research. They are cervical cancer cells that were harvested from Henrietta Lack (hence HeLa) around 50 years ago. Cervical cancer was the cause of her death, but her cells have been used ever since. Her cervical cancer was the result of HPV, and these HeLa cells being used in many research labs still contain a large part of the HPV genome. I never considered getting the HPV vaccine, until now. I do not currently work with HeLa cells, but that does not mean that I won't in the future.

I will also add that I think this giant push for every teenage girl to get the HPV vaccine is insane. No one knows what the long term effects of the vaccine will be. Not to mention all the drama that exists around vaccines (autism) and whether or not they are good. I think that it is extremely important for babies, children, adults to be vaccinated, but I also think that a line needs to be drawn. There is a vaccine for chicken pox. Yes, chicken pox made for an uncomfortable week, but it is a week that everyone had to go through. If autism is really caused by vaccines, why why why risk children with a chicken pox vaccine?? I can understand adults who never had chicken pox lining up for a chicken pox vaccine, I would if I didn't get to experience the fun in fourth grade. Adults get it worse. Kids can handle it!

This was my HeLa cells public service announcement. I'm sorry it turned into a little bit of a rant about vaccines...

Friday, February 20, 2009

yay concert!

tomorrow adam and i are going to the dark star orchestra concert. i am super super super excited. there was an article in 'indianapolis weekly' about it, and they linked this video (it's old, since they say jerry died 8 years ago, and jerry died 14 years ago, but it's still a great video):

and a video of dso (box of rain into liberty):

box of rain is the last song jerry played. phil lesh (bassist) wrote it when his dad was dying.

someone recently asked me why i like the dead so much. my first answer was that my dad trained me to love it by playing it so much. but really and truly, the vibes that grow out of the music just pull me in. and if you cannot feel the vibes, i cannot explain the dead. you either feel is or you don't, and most people don't.
if you love the dead, you feel it. with every note. jerry was incredible. the beautiful sounds he could make come out of a guitar were amazing and he did it with only 9 fingers. man, do i miss jerry. chills and goosebumps all the time because of the music he could make come out of a guitar. love love love.

and dso does a pretty good job recreating the vibes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

newness of things

This is the beginning of my third week as a post doc. On Friday I FINALLY got my email address and am therefore able to log into the lab computers. Tomorrow I will go to a meeting to help me pick out my benefits (yay health insurance). Things are finally beginning to come together.
But, as I work to get all my paperwork taken care of, I also have lots of learning to do in the lab. Everyone has been super duper nice and helpful. I am doing lots of things I've never done before, using equipment I've never used before, and all around I think I am going to become that much more marketable when I'm done here. The interesting (irritating) thing is that all of our notebooks are on computer. The boss and other labmates can look at everyone elses notebook at any time. While, in my old lab, anyone could look at my notebook at any time, I generally knew that they were. Now, the boss rearranges our notebooks, because he can, them being on the computer. Then he converts them to pdf. He even accidentally deleted some of my notebook things. And he told me I was doing it wrong, to look at everyone else's to find out the best way to set up my enotebook. This is trying my patience. I know I will have to suck it up and get used to it. This is how my new boss operates. It is so so so different than it was before, and this is probably good for me. It's really really really going to take some getting used to though. And I so miss writing in a notebook, I like my handwriting and enjoy writing. And using colorful pens. It would make me cringe whenever my phd advisor would write in my notebook, but at least she couldn't more the pages around, give them a new title, and put them in an entirely different folder.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

80s movie madness

Circuit City's going out of business sale is getting close to the end, and now all movies are 40% off. Adam and I went a little bit nuts yesterday, but we got 7 movies for $40... a really good deal if you ask me. And I got two of my favorite 80s movies that I am a little amazed I never bought before, but am so so so glad that I did.

"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"

"Working Girl"

If anyone wants to come over for an 80s movie night, I totally don't blame you! I'm looking forward to watching these movies whenever I want!! And they were only $4 each!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

email please

I have been a postdoc for a week. I still do not have a logon for the computer system/email. EVERYTHING in the lab is on computer, including my notebook. So, in order for me to do anything, I have to ask labmates to logon to computers. Without a login, I cannot use the internet on my laptop if I bring my laptop into the lab. For some reason, this lack of a login also prevents me from getting my packet from human resources to pick out my benefits package (which I have to sign up for 30 days following getting hired or I do not get to have health insurance) and it prevents me from being able to get a ID badge. I'm completely confused as to why this whole series of events was not set in motion sometime in the 4 months since I accepted the position. Or 2 months ago when they did the background check. I am completely confused as to why this wasn't taken care of before my first day of work and I am totally annoyed that nothing has been taken care of a week later. They didn't even have my employee ID number on my first day. Luckily I got a number on my second day, because without that number I wouldn't have been able to get a parking pass. I am totally annoyed and there is nothing I can do. I go and ask the secretary every day for an update, and I think I am just annoying the crap out of her.
I like to be in control. I am currently feeling completely out of control. I do not know how to regain control except to wait. I do not like to wait, especially when it comes to picking out insurance. I need control!!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


My Uncle Chico travels for work, and is going to be in town tomorrow.. so he is going to come by to see our house! I'm super excited to have a visitor! And my Uncle Chico gives the best hugs ever! yay for Uncle Chico hugs!!
Adam is making a gut out of balloons and just popped the small intestine. Scared the crap out of Spunky too. He is teaching a surg tech class tomorrow on laproscopic surgeries. He's so fabulous!

Monday, February 2, 2009

i love my nephew

my mom told me a fantastic story about my little nephew tonight. that 19 month old bundle of cuteness knows me! i don't get to see him nearly as often as i like, and he seems to like my dog more than me, but his mom had a picture of my family and she asked him who aunt sarah was, and he point at me and SAID MY NAME! I so so so wish I could have been there to see that!! And I really think that might be the best thing that's happened in the past few weeks... and so so many awesome things have happened!!

he is so so so gosh darn cute. the last time I saw him was Christmas time, and I had my camera out to take his picture if he did anything cute. and oh did he ever:

eli up close and personal. not because i got close to him, but because he saw the camera and wanted to be as close to it as possible, apparently.

as if finally being a phd and finally starting to work on something new wasn't awesome enough...

first postdoc day!

Today was my first day as a postdoc. The first day at any job requires much paperwork and tours and what not, so it wasn't a lot of researching today. A lot of reading... falling asleep at my new desk.. seminar.. falling asleep in seminar... The seminar was pretty interesting, though I missed the beginning so I was a bit confused. And my new PI gave me a grant proposal to read/proofread that's due this week. Super cool that he is already wanting to try out my proofreading skills (or what I hope are skills). I'm hoping to get enough preliminary data to apply for a postdoc fellowship in April, but that doesn't give me a whole lot of time to get this data! Alright, back to reading!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

snap cup!

I am watching Legally Blonde 2. This movie is ridiculous, but it does make an interesting point. Elle introduces the snap cup to her coworkers. Everyone writes down a compliment about one of their coworkers and puts it in the snap cup to read aloud. So, writing it down and then reading it out loud is a bit silly, but the idea of complimenting coworkers is so good. Can you imagine how much better a working environment might be if everyone tried to compliment each other every day?? I know that there are days when everyone just seems really annoying and it feels impossible to think nice thoughts, but they might not be so annoying if you do recognize a good quality. In fact, recognition of good qualities in others might make every day better.
I'm really thinking out loud about how I should be. I'm starting a new job tomorrow, I need to be on my best behavior! And I need to think good thoughts about everyone. And maybe it will be contagious and then people will think good thoughts about other people too!