Field of Science

WARNING! (or, now I'm really proud?)

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
* sex (20x) * penis (4x) * sexy (3x) * drugs (1x)

All of this "improvement" in just one day?!

SMBE 2007 in Halifax

First thing tomorrow morning, I'm heading off to the Society for Molecular Biology & Evolution (SMBE) annual meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is being held jointly with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIfAR, formerly known as CIAR), Program in Evolutionary Biology, which has been a major force in building Canada as a major powerhouse in molecular evolution and evolutionary genomics.

I usually go to each of these annual meetings separately, so having them together will make for quite a week! Both myself and Banoo Malik from my lab will be giving talks, so there will be some sexy gene evolution available for general consumption (in addition to the sex talk to be provided by Rosie Redfield). I'll also be spending time enjoying the wonderful city of Halifax (where I lived for 4+ years as a postdoc), catching up with many friends and colleagues and getting together with some bloggers, too.

Tara is on top of things

Tara Smith, my U. Iowa colleague and friend who is over at Aetiology, has a couple recent posts of particular relevance here...

Tara reports on the selection of University of Iowa's new president, Dr. Sally Mason, who is currently (until July 31) the Provost at Purdue. I'm thrilled about Dr. Mason as our new leader, as are many of us here. She's a biologist, which makes me happy, but that's not all. I heard Sally speak last week at her interview and I left the room feeling truly inspired. I was surprised to have that reaction, but I came to find out that I was not the only one who did. When I heard Sally speak at her introduction on Thursday, she left me with the same feeling. I think we scored a great catch here at Iowa.

Tara also files a detailed report on her recent "Field trip to the Creation Museum". As she concludes
"...$27 million spent on a Creation "museum," not to mention all the hours of donated labor. Meanwhile, our kids are failing to learn even basic science knowledge in school. Disheartening to a scientist, to say the least."

Thanks Tara!

Parental Advisory!

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
sex (18x) penis (5x) sexy (1x)

Beach, Beer & Books

Sorry for the long delay in posting here. It's been an eventful few weeks. After my return from the ASM annual meeting in Toronto, I attended an excellent PhD thesis defense (Tetyana Nosenko from Debashish Bhattacharya's lab), and then left immediately for the 13th German-American Frontiers of Science Symposium. I'll write more about this meeting later..

From there, I went directly to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a week of vacation with my family. The main agenda items for me are given in the title to this post. I spent 4 of 5 days on the beach, drinking beer, body-surfing and other water-frolicking, napping and reading books when possible (one day was spent recovering from a sun-burn).

Beach. We (12 of us, comprising both my immediate and extended family) stayed in a guest house in Hatteras which was situated ~5 min from the Atlantic Ocean. It was glorious. The kids (myself included) has a great time splashing in the waves and digging in the sand. Thanks to my sister, Beth, for making the arrangements.

Beer. Throughout the week, I emptied many bottles of Red Hook's Longhammer IPA. This was a perfect beach beer. It's both tasty and refreshing! Of course, there were a few bottles of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (my standard libation) consumed, too.

Books. Although I brought more than I could possibly finish, here are the ones I actually cracked (and in a couple cases, finished): Blink (Malcom Gladwell); Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs (Chuck Klosterman); Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert Pirsig); Killing Yourself to Live (also Chuck Klosterman).
So it's back to reality for me, but at least I enjoyed myself on the Outer Banks!

Shehre-Banoo Malik, PhD!

Hearty congratulations are well in order for Banoo Malik, who successfully defended her PhD thesis last Thursday (June 14th). Banoo is the first student in my lab to both start and finish a PhD under my supervision. In her case, that entailed moving with my lab from Emory University to the University of Iowa. She has been a major player in my lab group and her work has made considerable, long-lasting impacts on the lab's research.

Banoo's dissertation, entitled "The early evolution of meiotic genes", is based on her in-depth analyses of the evolutionary histories of meiotic genes. She gave a really terrific talk on her work that led to a extensive series of questions from the audience. Banoo then successfully held court with her committee, who spent some of the time arguing amongst themselves on matters of scientific import (always a good thing in a defense!). The meeting was immediately followed by a celebration including bubbly liquid. On the following day, a party in her honor was held at my home. Good job, Banoo!