Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

[watching my daddy carve a pumpkin]

Saturday, October 30, 2010


[Halloween pumpkin carved by a friend of mine on the MIT homepage this morning]

Saturday business:
--take home exam
--really honestly totally getting packages ready to send
--outline of my thesis proposal

The carrot?  A night of not-so-scary movies with a friend to celebrate not going out for Halloween.  It's gonna be great.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Beautiful day.

72 and sunny yesterday...see you in April!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

exciting news!

The PI of my lab was recently awarded an NIH New Innovator Grant to the tune of 1.5 million AFTER overhead (so, 2.6 million total.  Insane...the extra 1.1 million pays for MIT space, janitors, supplies like paper towels, etc...).  This is a very exciting thing for our lab and for our team.

that's my PI!

read more here

And since the abstract has been published, I thought I'd do a bit of translating, given how, um, dense it is.  (abstract will be in blue, explanation will be in black)

Transcript localization shapes many fundamental processes including cell polarity, migration and neuronal activity, and impacts diverse biological processes such as development, memory and learning.

Transcript refers to an RNA message.  When you think of how your DNA influences your cells, imagine DNA as a book.  A really, really, long book.  Now, to get information out of this book and doing something in the body, you have to open the book to a specific page and copy a passage to something called RNA.  Since DNA is a paired script in the book, it only copies half of it to the RNA---the molecules look like this:  DNA is on the left and a helix, RNA is on the right and is kind of half of a helix. 

All of those shape things are the letters by which the book of your genes and DNA are read:  A, T, G, C and U--it always astonishes me that with 26 letters and different combinations, we can end up with Shakespeare, but our bodies make us with just 5.

Cell polarity refers to the orientation of cells.  Since you have a head and feet, you are polar.  So are plants with flowers and roots.  On the other hand, a soccer ball has no polarity; it's the same on all sides.

Migration - just like Canada geese in the fall, both cells and things inside of cells move from place to place.

Neuronal activity is a fancypants way of saying "things in your brain working."

Development in biology refers to the period of time before you have gained some particular level of maturity.  This could mean development as a fetus, or it could mean development as you transition from a child to an adult. 

Although attention has been focused on localization of a few selected transcripts, recent global analyses indicate that the phenomenon is extremely common. 

A "few selected transcripts" are those that are studied first and found to be really important.  In this case, the abstract is saying a few important things have been studied, but it looks like we should study rarer transcripts in order to find more things out. 

In many cases, different transcripts are observed to have distinct sub-cellular spatial localization patterns. 

Sub-cellular means within the cell.  This is a cell:

There are lots of these cells in your body, and they all have a different purpose (help with muscle contraction, transmit nerve impulses, absorb digested food).  The cell above is just a generalized cell.

The word sub-cellular recognizes the space anywhere inside that cell. Spatial localization patterns is a fancy way of saying that these transcripts (RNA) sometimes end up congregating in different parts of the cell, just like hipsters with their PBR at a seedy neighborhood bar, students hanging out in the library, or people like me trawling the thrift store.  It's the same thing---these are different transcripts in different places.  It doesn't meant that I don't got to library, but it means there is a pattern where I go to the thrift store more often than the library.

Several prominent examples of specific transcript localization shaping processes such as body axis polarity in Drosophila and synaptic plasticity in neurons suggest the potential for there being direct functional significance of transcript localization, now recognized to be a commonly observed phenomenon. 

The concept of transcript localization shaping processes isn't as complicated as it sounds.  If we continue with the thoughts of Boston as a cell, and all the different buildings around it were locations that people could be, these people in different places affect how Boston functions.  For example, construction workers in South Boston help to build a new high rise; this changes how Boston is.

In the same way, when you have RNA transcripts spread over an entire cell, you cause different things to happen in different places.  So---if you have a certain transcript in a certain place, you can change what direction the cell moves.  The example above is "body axis polarity" in Drosophila (fruit fly) - in this case, talking about changing the intended head/thorax/abdomen orientation of a fly 90 degrees during development.  That's kind of insane.  But you can do it!  Simply by putting RNA transcripts in one place and moving them to another, you can completely change how the cell looks.  Similarly, you take all the construction workers from South Boston and put them in Somerville along with all the other construction workers in Somerville, you end up with---a lot of construction in Somerville.  It's the same in a cell, believe it or not!

And it's funny--plastic to me means very hard and rigid, which is why it's so ironic that in a scientific sense, plastic means able to adapt. These fly cells are able to adapt depending on where the RNA goes, which is a little bit crazy. But true.  You do reach a certain point at which things are "decided" - but early enough in development, you can definitely change the outcome. 

Plasticity in neurons refers to the idea that although it's a bit trickier to come up with new neurons than it is new skin cells, neurons make new connections all the time, and these influence memory and how your brain works.  If you didn't have plastic neurons, you wouldn't be able to learn!
Unfortunately, we have very limited understanding of the protein factors required for achieving specific transcript localization patterns. 

If DNA is the book of life, and RNA is a copied page from that book, a protein is what happens when that page is read aloud; imagine that you were in the world of the Pagemaster... (come on, I know you've seen the movie.  Me at age 8 had a completely helpless crush on Macauly Culkin/the boy in the actual book.  I was big into realism, knowing that I'd probably end up dating an incredibly dorky boy someday and love it).   Anyway, whatever is said aloud comes true, which while very cool is a bit daunting in the story.  But in this case, the proteins become everything that makes up the cell, or help create things that make the cell (example: plant cell walls are all made of starch; but this starch is processed by proteins).   

Anywho, this particular sentence brings up that the RNA must have some way to get to the places it goes, and these probably involve proteins; in Boston, you could walk, you could take the T, you could bike...similarly, science expects RNA to have a whole slew of ways to get to these different places, but doesn't have a really good idea of what they actually are (I vote hovercar).

Moreover, we lack strategies for selectively perturbing transcript spatial distribution in a manner compatible with understanding the associated functional consequences.

Gosh.  We don't have a good idea of what they are, and we don't know how to figure out what they are.  Oh science.  Thanks for your clarity.  But, basically we're stuck.  And that's what this proposal is trying to address.

This proposal addresses these needs by introducing a method permitting regulated targeting of a given transcript to a sub-cellular location, the latter being driven by known or putative localization factors under evaluation. 

So...what we need is something that will allow us to tag along with a transcript of our choice and try and see what's along for the ride.  Or, in plainer terms, a GPS with a video camera attached to a person to show where they go, how they get there, and who they go with.  We're basically super-spies.  Putative is a fancy word for suspected, and in this case we have some clues, but we don't know for sure.  So we need to do a bit of stalking and investigation.

In this approach, transcript localization is entirely experimentally controlled, and is conditional upon either small molecule or peptide signals applied to target cells using high-resolution chemical gradients and post-translational protein localizing modifications, respectively. 

And as super-spies, we control the RNA movement by adding a small molecule or a peptide. 

In science, a small molecule is something little that can get into a cell.  Some recognizable ones are sugars like glucose, or an antibiotic like tetracycline.  We would add these to cells very precisely, and see what happens.  A "high resolution chemical gradient" means that adding this molecule would be very accurate (high res, just like an LCD tv). 

On the other hand, the peptide would be a programmable "PS" put in the DNA book and therefore also in the copied RNA message.  So, if the RNA words on the copied page from the DNA book read something originally like "Help move sugar," we could add a specific PS that says "Actually, help move only fructose."  (something we can do by cloning).  This PS message is called a "post-translational protein localizing modification."

This broadly applicable method has the potential to advance our basic knowledge of the cellular mechanisms underlying transcript localization, and to probe the associated functional implications at both the cellular and organism levels. 

This will help us figure stuff out!

Public Health Relevance: Sub-cellular RNA localization into discrete, transcript-dependent patterns is now recognized to be a widespread phenomenon in many cell types and organisms, including humans.

This is something every researcher has to add to a grant for the National Institutes of Health.  Specifically, what does this project do to positively impact human health?  The argument here is that, even though there is no mention of any disease at all in this proposal, knowing more about the basics can be really helpful.  You know the people who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine?  Their work was very basic research on things called telomeres...which, as it turns out, are really important in cancer.  They didn't set out to revolutionize how we think about cancer.  But they did. 

Also, the abstract and this last bit is to inform a generalized public what the research is all about, which kind of cracks me up.  I'm a graduate student in this field, and it was impossible to wade through this without copying it into Word, bumping it up to a size 16 font, and reading it aloud in my head, pausing after each sentence.  Meaning?  The whole way we go about "informing the public" is oftentimes a complete joke.  And that's the basics of what I want to do when I grow up; make this sort of thing interesting to learn instead of impossible.

In several well-studied cases, transcript localization is required for establishing proper cellular function, and defects in this process contribute to developmental, cognitive and other neurological problems in humans. 

Aha---here's the public health; there are definite diseases, especially in the brain, that happen simply because there is RNA in places it's not supposed to be.  Or, there are escaped convicts from jail robbing a bank; not quite a good thing for Boston, and it's the same for the cell.

The proposed research will introduce new methods for understanding and manipulating the mechanisms underlying RNA sub-cellular localization, and has the potential to improve both our understanding and treatment of disease processes associated with RNA localization defects.

This research will look into new methods for learning why RNA goes where it goes, who it goes with, and how it gets there. 

We're the superspy tagging different suspects and following their every move to see what happens. And as soon as we know these particular things ---the whos, the wheres, the whats---we can begin to address catching these suspects...or figuring out how to correct a disease in the brain caused by this sort of problem.  But first--you've gotta do your homework and reconnaissance.

Phew.  That was a lot of science.  Time for a porcupine that thinks it's a dog:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In the Pantry: organization!

The one benefit of flour beetles is an amazingly clean pantry.  Lemons-->lemonade always wins over being a sourpuss. 


Chicago friends, stay safe!

Yikes. Good luck staying cozy and safe today!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

not what I planned on today.

But it did include a hard cider and Stargate, even if these things were by my lonesome.  But I also shouldn't fail to note that I have a roof over my head, people who care about me, fresh rosemary from my garden, carrot cake muffins to bake tomorrow, friends who come to my orchestra concerts and today was a beautiful day.  No, it wasn't a beautiful day on the Cape.  But it was a beautiful day. 


So go suck an elf, flour beetles and thirty yeast minipreps-turned Mach1 transformations.  You are so not worth my time.

Now---I'm going to going to put on my homemade skanky dirdl and beat the crap out of Barbie Peep.  Or read some Jane Austen, do the dishes, and go to bed.  Because that's how I roll.

oh goodness.

After a morning (and half my afternoon) spent cleaning out my pantry and throwing out a bunch of food (thanks flour beetles that mysteriously appeared) ---and then dealing with the aftermath of dishes and such that followed...I needed this:

Can I take a nap now?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

blinding light.

At just the right moment in spring and fall afternoons, my apartment is suddenly lit by the blinding reflection of the sun setting...a suprised moment of clarity, of eyes blinking, mind confused. 

My world needs more of this brightness, more of this smile-creating light.  I'm no Frodo in the lair of Shelob, but that light is still most welcome in my life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010


Email from my professor this morning at 10 am:

The assignment in Golan for this lecture is Chapter 5, but that is a little thin for my lectures, so I have added (and uploaded) 2 papers that are essential reading assignments. I have also uploaded today's slides.

Really?  Two papers, by 1:30 pm today?  Really?

Add that to the fact that I didn't get paid this September, jeez. Thank goodness for MIT's payroll employees that are on the ball and figured it out for me.

Now to try and figure out when to squeeze in a trip to the Verizon store at Cambridgeside Mall (oh the horror!  I bet they already have Christmas stuff up) --- my phone can last about five minutes on full battery, which is why there has been a distinct lack of long-walk-based phone calls recently, a real shame.

Oh.  And take around muffins, figure out why Netflix thinks I've already opened an account with them (?), plan meals for the next couple of days, do my laundry, make dinner, collapse.

And my thesis proposal is November 29th.  Commence studying. 

(fact of the day: there's a gene called hERG that stands for "human ether a-go-go" after the dancin' legs of flies with a mutation in this gene when they are put under with ether-based anesthetic.  Thanks, William D. Kaplan.  I wish there was a video, but no luck) 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

fall Saturday

Things I did today:

I biked the mile to Trader Joes, my skirt flying up here and there, because I made the stupid decision to look at the pretty fall colors on Memorial Drive.  Instead, I frantically tried to pedal and not flash anyone at the same time, which was a losing battle because of the wind advisory today (really Boston?  Thanks). 

I worked in our freezing cold lab, a miserable experience because they did an unannounced steam shut-off this morning.  Brr.  BRR. 

I dressed in red, orange and green today.  Yes, I've noticed.  I'm kind of a kindergarten teacher in disguise.

I bought bread ends at Flour, the world's best deal for $1.50 - I expected them to be stale and perfect for crouton-making, but not so!  They were beautifully soft and fluffy.  Perfect for a dinner of bread and cheddar broccoli chowder.

I made apple butter!  So delicious, oh my.  Along with the maple cream I purchased, the crepes study break later in the year is going to be so tasty.

I watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with my apple-butter-making-GRT-partner-in-crime.  Started out very cool and mad sciencey---ended really, really odd (let's just say Owen Wilson voiced the part of a guy that ended up inside a radioactive half sentient chicken carcass)

I went to bed before midnight.  Always a winning time in my book!

PS  Making the Hippo Dance is a fascinating look at how the folks at Radiolab make the hippo---hard-to-understand scientific concepts ---dance and come alive.  That's exactly what I want to do...Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, do you need a science intern in Boston?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

so close!

I was so close to posting every day this month.  Thanks ants.  Thants.

But in lieu of rambling, I give you the powers of ten:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the beauty of words.

Unknown words I looked up while doing toxicology homework tonight:

There's a beauty to these words with their Latin and Greek roots.  But when you find out what they are, it's a little unsettling and/or gross.  Thank goodness my biology education has given me a staunch constitution. Definitions below:  you've been warned.

dysphonia - vocal impairment
hyperesthesia - sensitivity to stimuli
syncope - fainting
ptosis - eyelid droop
paresthesia - tingling skin (similar to what it feels when your foot falls asleep)
eructation - burping
dyspepsia - upset stomach
melena - tarry feces from gastrointestinal hemmhorage
micturition - urination
arthralgia - joint pain
paroniria - nightmares
leukorrhea - white vaginal discharge
pruritis - itchiness
furunculosis - boils
hyperkeratosis - thickening of the skin
purpura - purple rash
seborrhea - inflammation of oil glands
parosmia - can't identify smells
xerophthalmia - unable to produce tears
asthenia - weakness
rigors - chills
chloestasis - bile is blocked from moving in your liver to your intestine
thrombocytopenia - you don't have enough platelets for blood clotting

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wait---they celebrate Oktoberfest in Japan?

Just in case you need another reason to drink beer:

"It is concluded that beer administration reduces the radiation injury caused by photons and carbon ions, depending on the tissue type."

Protects you from the xrays, just like those tinfoil hats protected you from alien abductions back in the day. 

You stay classy, Japan.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Cider donuts really do make the world go round.

 World War II aircraft?  There were a bunch of them---kind of crazy!


I love apple orchards...

So many apples!  Another GRT and I picked about 150 pounds at Honeypot Orchards: Spencers, Empires, McIntosh, Cortland....all just so wonderfully fall tasting!   Many were used today for the apple baking event here in McCormick, but many more are leftover for making apple butter.  But not today.  I am knackered.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

I love the BSO.

There has been a lot of hullabaloo lately on whether James Levine, conductor of the BSO, can handle his job as the music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and of the New York Metropolitan Orchestra....he's had some pretty severe health/back issues, surgeries, all that.  But he can't keep away.  The music keeps pulling him back.

Bryn Terfel, famous bass/baritone, and James Levine (from here)

But after seeing the opening concert, an all-Wagner show, and this week's Mahler 1, even with him walking cane in hand, wow.  Orchestras really just do it for me.  Music that just vibrates in your soul like that---I need it in my life more often.  

Friday, October 8, 2010

whew. what a day.

First of all, whoa.  This day was frantically running around, finishing my poster for the Bionengineering retreat on Monday, finishing problem sets, attending our weekly student seminar and NOT having enough copies thus warranting me running---fast---in my three inch heels to pull an amazing confusing-copy-machine-feat, then being frustrated with lab buffers and having a terrible headache.  Ugh.

And then there was this:

Recitation professor:  So, does anyone have any questions before we start?  General things, the readings?

Me:  So, why exactly do you call removing hydrogens abstracting them?

Recitation professor:  (hedges a bit)

Me:  I guess, I'd never heard of it put that way before this class...we just called it removing hydrogens in undergrad.

Girl behind me (who continually editorialized our class with comments):  God, uh, where did you take organic?

Me:  seething.  (also, upon looking it up, abstract has an alternate definition of "to steal away" and it comes from the late 14th century and is from the Latin word "abstractus," (drawn away).  This is legit...but I had seriously never heard it in terms of hydrogens before)

Now, organic chemistry is not my strong suit.  As I've pointed out, the slight lysdexia and complete lack of spatial perception make this subject terribly difficult for me.  Histology just makes sense.  Physiology (yes, even action potentials!)  -- we understand each other now.  I've been able to get by in orgo and learn because I studied hard, not because it made sense to me in some sort of natural way.  But holy schmole, just because I didn't go to MIT and take Their organic chemistry doesn't mean I'm an idiot.  (says me, who, you know, read the book and did the problem set and ---whoa, wait for it---got several things right during recitation.  N-deacetylation for the win).  There are no stupid questions when you're trying to learn...I've been there.  A lot.  See: my entire first semester of graduate school trying to program math-based systems for which I'd never actually learned the math.  But there are people like you, who are in a whole different league, and because my mama told me not to say anything if I can't say anything nice, I won't.

Fortunately, I finally got my drunken noodle tonight as well (plus a boba bonus!).  Earlier this week, a labmate was eating spaghetti for lunch, and I excitedly shared that I learned what pasta puttanesca meant (whore's pasta!  it's true...)

And we got into a whole conversation about people's rationalizations for the names of food, like drunken noodle.  It's not called that because the noodles are swirly, it's called that because it's easy good food to make/eat while drunk. 

And then I said, "Man.  I want some drunken noodle."  And tonight, spicy deliciousness in Allston ensued.  After today, it was exactly what I needed.

And then my male-male audio cord came in, and there is SOUND.  Oh man, I may just watch something on Hulu right now, at 11:49 pm, just because I can. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010


As many of you might now, Polaroid stopped producing its iconic film two years ago, much to the chagrin of polaroid enthusiasts and photographers everywhere. A few former employees have set up shop in an attempt to recreate the film and bring it back to life, but until then, loving what is already there is all we've got. It's called The Impossible Project, and while they're on the road to recreating this film, it does merit the question...why? Why do we care?

Many of my favorite photographers use Polaroid as a medium that expresses spontaneity and beauty, and one of these is Shannon Leith, a photographer who received her BFA from Biola in California. For her senior design project, she had a room filled with polaroids where attendees of the show were encouraged to take a piece that spoke to them.

She had a few leftover, and I ended up getting one in the mail!

Add that to the fact that I just found an old polaroid camera in unclaimed storage...and it looks like I'll have a chance to try the medium for myself. If I can stomach paying $40 for a roll of film. Yikes.  Maybe I'll just hold onto it for awhile...

Speaking of  The Gaga was here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

new household addition!

After this fiasco and missing all of the Olympic coverage, ice skating, everything---I decided that I needed a TV. Well, wanted a TV. And so, after discovering quite a few unused Target giftcards and quite the sale, I had a 32" TV shipped to McCormick.  It was quite the box.

But  It looks like it was meant to be there! 

But don't be took about two hours and lots of pulling down shelves, moving things, screwdrivers, all that...turning my apartment into an absolute disaster.  And this was all to figure out that wow, the stand that it's on won't fit at all.  Since the shelves are on a slant, if you set the tv + tv stand on the desk portion, it just wouldn't fit.  Balderdash.  But I futzed and cursed and wished my brother was there, and finally came up with the idea of just balancing it on the ledges of the shelves, and because of the slant, the top of the tv rests surprisingly sturdily on the vertical posts of the shelves.  Precarious?  Not at all.  But to put at least my mother at ease, the set-up has been Mech-E grad student  stress-test approved, which means I am go for launch!

...too bad the dumb TV box didn't include any cables with it, so all I can do is turn it on and change the clock.  Then I bought an HDMI male/male cable and an HDMI to mac cable at the suggestion of the employee at Microcenter, only to figure out that telling someone you'd like to connect your computer to your tv so you can watch movies doesn't mean that said employee will tell you how to include SOUND in this discussion.  So I'm currently soundless, and patiently waiting for my student amazon prime shipping for my headphone connection.  Then, my friends, there shall be Stargate. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

tax receipt

Recently NPR's Planet Money linked to a study done by a think tank called Third Way (they bill themselves the moderate voice of the progressive movement).  It's an intriguing and helpful look at where my money actually goes.  Surprise (and yeah, I'm a bit socialist on this one)---I feel like I could give more. There are so many things that I have benefited from over the years--the arts, highways, transportation, and especially education.  Here that, congress?  Someone making less than $200,000 a year could deal with her taxes being raised.  Now, that statement comes with specific responsibilities, like actually putting that money towards doing good in those areas, but you have my vote.  For instance, if there was a box on my tax form that said I could donate $100 extra for programs that directly fund students doing gap years after high school in Americorps or City Year, done.  No qualms from this girl.  I feel like there really is a general dislike of taxes because it's like money that is thrown away.  And, I kind of feel like that as far as some of the money in that list.  As in, if I could put my portion of the defense budgets towards clean energy R&D, or towards employing servicemen and women in Greg Mortensen's school-building initiative in Afghanistan, that would be swell.   One day, when I'm enlightened despot of the world and get to design tax laws...ha.  In my dreams (nightmares, more like!)

PS  Science naming hilarity of the day: farads are used to denote capacitance, or the capability of an object to hold an electric charge.  When you have a picofarad (pF), you have, quite literally, a puff.  Seriously.  One picofarad=one puff.  Whoever thought scientists don't have a sense of humor was way off.  Okay, so maybe our sense of humor doesn't make sense to your average non-periodic-table-reciting crowd, but a puff?  Excellent.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

inspiration in the every day

Between the Boston Globe's Big Picture series and Daily Dose of Imagery in Toronto, I get a full day's worth of images to make me think, laugh, smile, and cry.  The above touched me to the point of "oh my gosh I need a bike and paint chips stat!"  and transitioned to "wow, wouldn't it be cool if you did it with school colors to ride in a parade..the possibilities are endless!"

Their newest is a series of satellite images from the housing boom in Florida recently detailed on NPR's Planet Money.  Sad, horrifying, and greedy, all at once. 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"A toast, to siblings who actually like each other."

Missing you, brothers!  

(well, and Hillary too.  I've been skyping lately with my family, and the fact that she can hear me and kind of see me but that I am absolutely NOT there rubbing her tummy, well, she is not down with that, I think)

Friday, October 1, 2010

October 2010

Say hello to a weekend full of studying, trying to get over these nasty barometric pressure-changes-induced sinus headaches, and working on my poster for the BE Retreat.  That, and finally catching up on packages and letters to send, for I am woefully behind in that department....


My Body Gallery: proof that women who are the exact same height and exact same weight can look completely different...a redefinition of what it is like to be "normal."  Put in your height and weight and see the spectrum. It's pretty amazing.

Colander as succulent planter. Why didn't I think of that?!

Originally seen on Share Some Candy (artist Will Bryant)

Ikea's brilliant new cookbook; so pretty!  (these are before and after pictures of kannebullar, or almond cinnamon rolls)

The broken ceramic pottery of Li Xiaofeng

The story of the Voynich Manuscript...all I want to do is get out a pen and paper and try to crack the code!

Tilt-shift Van Gogh...genius!

...and just plain funny:

Star Wars status updates.  Yeah, I'm pretty sure that I laughed just as loud at these. 

Things to look forward to:

--first orchestra concert of the year!  Chadwick is going to kill me, or at least make me beg for an oxygen tank:

--data!  I have some.  And today was so incredibly productive it hurt.  So much accomplished.  Now, to get back into malaria culturing, lots of DNA, and more progress.  Finally.

--apple-picking and the apple dessert study break!  Mmm, pie.

--Opening Gala Concert of the Boston Symphony Orchestra -- tomorrow night!  I'm going to get all gussied up and enjoy some lovely Wagner.

--Mechanisms of Drug Action.  Despite the 150 pages of reading this weekend (?!  come on.  Seriously?)  ---this is a class that is making me stay interested in chemistry.  Which, if you know me, is really hard.  A penchant for dyslexia makes remembering a nucleophile versus an electrophile really hard.  Phile means likes, electro means electrons, so do electrophiles like getting electrons?  Or do they have them and like giving them away?  I seriously cannot remember this for the life of me, and it keeps making me look ridiculous.  Never you mind that these things make complete sense in anatomy and physiology..but chemistry and those bond things?  Not so much.  So--here's to learning to not look ridiculous, especially with a thesis committee composed of three bioengineers with chemistry backgrounds (wait, why did I do that, again?)

And with that, I've finished my mug of tea, and it's time for bed.