Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lab 2.0

Pink eye, of course. Of course! I'm heading out of town this week, gearing up for the two busiest weeks of work and travel of my entire year, and Charlie gets pink eye. If I were a betting woman, oh what I would do with my winnings. I hve a conference this week, grant reviews next week. Why is it always everything at once?? When am I going to find time to take care of all the really important things in life - Halloween costumes and pumpkin patches, planning a bachelorette party, carving the pumpkins Charlie keeps asking about...??

I have to focus on work right now and put all that aside. It's a big week for me, a big week for my lab and all that we work towards on a daily basis. We're heading to a small scientific conference that is jam-packed with the best work being done in our field right now. Small, as in 500 people or so, but big on impact. This meeting is only held every 4 years and as a result, there is a lot of time and energy spent making it as good as it can be. I attended this meeting 4 years ago and 8 years ago and both times it's been a great experience. I remember so well attending the meeting 8 years ago - I was still a postdoc at Wash U, with no idea if I would ever get a faculty position. I think I had just found the posting for my current position and was wondering if I could really make that leap. I remember being in awe of many of the speakers and scientists at this meeting, feeling so very far from where they stood in their successful careers.

And now, 8 years later - I am one of them. I am on the organizing committee for this meeting. I am moderating two of the 12 scientific sessions and giving a 30 minute talk on my research. Two members of my lab are presenting posters. We will be very visible at this small meeting and I hope our impression is a good one. We toll away in obscurity day after day and now we get a chance to tell everyone what we've been up to. I hope our best is good enough. I always wish we had been more productive. I want to put an asterisk next to my name with the footnote **Has two children under 4 and gets very little sleep, please be kind!** But there is no such thing and I have to stand proud of what we've done and hope for the best.

And I am proud of this group. This is the second coming of my lab - my first group of students and technicians has moved on and I have new students, new techs that have never traveled together for a meeting like this. This will be a chance for us to bond and create new memories. I wasn't sure I could ever recreate the chemistry of my first core group - the ones that I worked with closely to get that first big grant, the ones that learned with me as I figured out this faculty gig. But this group is special, too. I feel good about the new direction we're taking in our research and the positive energy we have in the lab. Sometimes I feel like I don't do enough to foster that energy now that I have a family of my own. But I think we're doing all right. This meeting helps me take stock and recognize our strengths. I'm a proud mama in many ways...


I wonder where I/we will be in another 4 years? Crazy for me to think about. I really can't imagine it at this point, and maybe that's a good thing. Surprise me. 

1 comment:

  1. Good luck to you and your lab! Where is the conference this year?
    Let the very willing other Bridesmaids help with the bachelorette party! They were told to help you! Delegate!
    Most of all, Love you! And you are a great mom, sis and boss!

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