writen in 2009. #23
1. I feel compelled to join in.
2. I am a "joiner" even tho I like to think I am a cool loner.
3. I love (LOVE) the Doors. I own every album, and then some. I love Morrison's poetry, even if it is a little contrived and juvenile on occasion. Poetry can be that way. I used to write, but realized it was pretty lame...MY poetry, not writing it in general.
4. My sister is my hero.
5. I have been with Rob for almost 20 years...half my life more or less. I love him too!
6. I don't have kids, instead I have a dog named Victor, and he is spoiled rotten. He is my surrogate child. He sleeps in the bed, goes just about everywhere with us. I agree with Scott, dogs are higher beings. Victor teaches me daily.
7. You are likely to find me sitting in front of a computer 50% of the time. And not always for work. I am slightly addicted to facebook.
8. I am not a girly girl, and I am not afraid of bugs, but I cannot stand cockroaches. Even the Madagascar hissing ones that are supposed to be so cool. They freak me out. The combo of speed and the freaky antennae...*shiver*
9. I have been blessed with a wonderful family- both the one I was born to and the one I've chosen for myself- Miss Eldena, Uncle Lewlis, Amanda, the Orser clan- I am lucky.
10. My mom once told me that you had to be driving faster than 90 mph to hit a bird, because they are so fast they can get out of the way if you go slower than that. I thought for a moment and said "well, not if they are suicidal." I was 10 or 12. I think she's been worried about me ever since.
11. Camping is not just something I do on Memorial day because I have to. It is my mostest favoritest thing to do. If I won the lottery, I would not buy a big house, I would get the best north face gear and a nice 4x4 and camp all over the world for the rest of my life. No shower for weeks? Deal.
12. I try not to be judgmental, but rather to accept people as they are. The ones I find most difficult are people that are fixed. All their opinions about everything are completely decided- usually by some outside authority- and they can not listen to anything that contradicts the fixed belief.
13. I am an atheist. I was raised Episcopalian, and have been exposed to a myriad of religions: Mormonism, Lutheranism, Catholicism, Judaism, Islamism, Buddhism, Taoism...-ism. Buddhism probably comes closest. Being an atheist doesn't mean I am not a moral person. The 2 are not mutually exclusive.
14. Science is my passion. Biology specifically, but I like most all science. I had a fun time helping teach Physics and Chemistry to 6th and 8th graders.
15. I was hooked on Genetics in the 7th grade. My first punnet square and I couldn't get enough. Genetics is predicting the future. Like magic.
16. Star Trek and Star Trek Next Generation leave me with a conundrum. Kirk or Picard? I can never decide.
17. For many years, my only transportation was a pink Nishiki 10 speed. I would load up my laundry in my backpack. I took the bus.
18. The first car I bought from a car dealership was the car I have now, and have had for 8 years. It has gone on more dirt roads, and made more trips to Montana, than most Hummers. I don't feel the need to have a shiny new car to express my fitness. A car is a tool, not a substitute for cool.
19. I love driving on dirt roads. You see more that way. I always feel so weird after driving on a back road, and then suddenly being forced onto the interstate. People seem so aggressive and dangerous. They are unaware that they could be crushed by a semi at any moment.
20. I learn the most from people who are different from me. It is comforting to have someone tell you "I totally get that" or "I think the same thing" but you don't learn anything about yourself, or your beliefs, from that.
21. I consider myself to be a socialist libertarian. I believe in complete personal freedom, but I also believe in a social contract. As long as you don't hurt other people, you should be left alone. But I also think that the social system must be there to help produce better citizens/society.
22. In addition to #21, I think it is insanity that corporations are considered individuals. That needs to stop.
23. More than anything, I want to be a college professor- one who gets to do research and teach.
24. I like planting a garden, but I hate pulling weeds.
25. I despise war, and think we'd all be a lot better off if we figured out how to talk to each other
Something has been bugging me lately. So, I will blog about it- speaking to the ether/interwebs may help. You may notice that I have changed my photo on my page. In order to start the conversation. If anyone has had a mixed breed dog- a MUTT if you will, you know the curiosity that ensues- what IS my dog?? Genetic testing has become a craze to help folks answer this question, but in my mind- the mind of a geneticist- what does the REALLY tell us about our beloved pet? If you find that there is some familial lineage leading to a pit bull or a rottweiler, does that change who your pet is? Well, in the minds of "canine racists" it could. A breed designation does not define the dog. The raising, socialization and training a dog receives is what defines the dog. Often I refer to my Irish/Scottish/German/Norwegian heritage. But being raised in America makes me an American in modern society. Being raised by decent parents and getting a good education has defined me as a person. Yes, our genetics plays a role, but in a very complex and variable way. I call for an end to canine racism!!
OK. It has been ages since I posted last. I just saw this article and though it was a good place to start. In the fungal pathogen world, there is a lot of debate about "what makes a pathogen" - basically, many of the human fungal pathogens out there are considered "opportunists" in that in a normal human host they are not able to cause disease. Well at least rarely are they a problem in healthy people. MFF (my fav fungus) Coccidioides is a bit more of a bear in that respect- it really does infect and kill healthy people. But a bit of an outlier.
This article reviews what is known about genomic differences between a bread mold and a pathogen. Really, there is not that much difference (and never mind that occasionally the bread mold WILL cause disease) but there are some trends that pop out. The ability to: stick to surfaces, be resistant to anti-fungal drugs, and basically be flexible- in your food source, your genetic make up and your morphology.
Another nice aspect is that the article is open source! Devour at will!
So often I end up writing statements in grants such as "My research will cure (insert favorite cause here)." And I always feel a little weird about it. Because it certainly could be true, however much more likely is that my research will have little immediate effect. This is because I do basic research.
This article in Infection and Immunity really said it well. It is by Fang and Casadevall, accepted ahead of print. I know not everyone will be able to download this directly, but find it if you can, it is an amazing read.
In short, basic research is necessary in and of itself. We cannot predict the effect of a discovery. How would we have known that studying telomeres could lead to an understanding of aging, for example? So, when you hear politicians talk about "pork barrel spending" and "ridiculous research" that they get from a title of a grant, think about my favorite quote from their paper:
"We didn’t know at the time that there were any particular disease implications. We were just interested in the fundamental questions. . . (this) is really a tribute to curiosity-driven basic science"
I am a recent graduate from University of Arizona, in genetics (PhD major) and ecology and evolutionary biology (EEB minor). I am particularly fascinated by fungi, especially the ones that cause disease in living hosts. Fungi generally degrade dead matter, so my interest is in what adaptations might allow fungi to digest living tissue.