04/29/16 – Following science updates, Gautam Shirsekar of Weigel World (@PlantEvolution) gave us an update on his Arabidopsis Hunting adventures. The focus of his project is to explore the extent of genetic diversity in North American Arabidopsis thaliana and its obligate biotrophic pathogen, Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. Due to a warm March, the Arabidopsis populations on the East coast were ready earlier than the previous two years, but the recent rain in the Midwest has resulted in a treasure trove of pathogen samples. We eagerly anticipate the outcome of his three-year collection spree, and also look forward to getting regular updates from him on The Whiteboard. For more frequent updates from Gautam, you can follow him on Twitter @gaushi. Finally, thanks to Adam for supplying the subs from Jimmy Johns.
04/22/16 – With all three of the 4th floor PIs able to attend this week, we ended up having a great conversation extending from our science updates and so did not get to our ABTs. Much of the talk involved the continuing CRISPR phenomenon and whether or not genome editing using this new technology will continue to escape regulation. We also discussed some of the interesting questions Alex Corrion was asked as a part of his oral exam this last week. Thanks to Alex for providing the wings from BWWs as well.
04/15/16 – Last Friday we had so many science updates we had to stop before we got through them all! Ian will be posting some of these soon, so be sure to keep an eye on the Whiteboard. We also took time to congratulate Ian and Li on being the post doc and graduate student Anton Lang award winners for 2016. Brad Day then led a discussion on job talks. He started by asking us what stood out most to us about a series of job talks given as part of the recent cluster hire process here at MSU. For more details on our discussion, check out the post “The first 5 minutes decides your fate.” We finished up by watching a TedMed talk by Randy Olson on the “And, But, Therefore” method for oral presentations. We will use this method next week to improve our own presentations, so don’t miss out! Last but not least, thanks to Siobhan for taking care of snacks.
04/08/16 – Following our science updates, we had the opportunity to have Robin Buell share her background with us as well as a summary of current research her lab is doing. Robin then answered our questions regarding sequencing technologies, experimental design for RNA-Seq experiments and how us “non-bioinformaticians” can better equip ourselves to handle the large data sets that are now commonplace in biology. For a list of Robin’s tips and resources, click here.
04/01/16 – Last week we had an extended science update session, which resulted in a discussion about the Zika virus. Afterward, Ian Major shared his recent job interview experience and we had a nice discussion about how to be prepared for interview questions.
03/25/16 – After another interesting science update session, Joe Aung shared the figures he is putting together for a manuscript. The group was able to practice our brainstorming skills and hopefully gave Joe some good ideas. Thanks to David for getting chicken wings from Eastside Fish Fry!
03/18/16 – Science updates this week included discussion on our special visitors of the week, John McDowell and Ian Baldwin (check out the Whiteboard for posts on these visits!). Gregg Howe also shared a recent report of Columbia seeds found to be contaminated with other accessions (click here to read the important notice). This resulted in about a 30-minute discussion regarding the “best practices” of seed maintenance and how this important step can have huge implications on our research if not properly and carefully done. We have shared the resources mentioned by Gregg in a post on the Whiteboard and will also be adding them to our Resources page, so be sure to check them out. We then heard from Amy Baetsen-Young, who is working on the development of nanoparticles as a tool for enabling early detection of pathogen infections in the field. Finally, we had Brad Paasch and Katie Wozniak share their CVs and get input from the group on how to improve them. While we did not have time to get to everyone’s CVs, we all learned from the tips they received. We will be adding a post with some of these tips from Maren soon! Thanks to Brad P. and David for getting the snacks (Eastside Fish Fry!!!), setting up and cleaning up.
03/11/16 – We were joined by three special guests this week at The Pub Club. Hanae Kaku and Yasuko Sasaki were here from Japan to work with Brad Day on establishing a new exchange program between MSU and Meiji University in Tokyo. Our other guest, Sean Lawrie, is from MSU’s Center for Global Connections and is helping put this exciting new program together. Yasuko and Hanae gave us brief descriptions of their research, and then we got to hear a bit about the new exchange program and how it will open up new opportunities for PhD students to do research in highly respected labs in Japan. As a part of this week’s science update session, Ian shared a Nature News Feature article, “Welcome to the CRISPR zoo.” This article provides an amazing list of the many new uses being found for the CRISPR technology, and is a great read in preparation for our upcoming Genome Editing RCR discussion on May 6.
03/04/16 – Ian led us in another lively science update session followed by James’ roughly 2-minute practice talk, which was to help him prepare for the upcoming Phytobiomes meeting. While he kept his in initial talk brief, the topic held the group’s interest for the remainder of our time so we never got around to our job searches! We will try to incorporate the job availability and job qualifications questions into one of our upcoming “job prep” sessions. Thanks to Li for the yummy snacks!
02/26/16 – We started with Xiufang’s description of her current research, which will be submitted soon for publication. This generated some interesting questions and discussion. We then had the pleasure of hearing from Dan Jones on the amazing progress being made in the field of metabolomics and discussed how we can use this type of analysis to answer interesting questions in our own areas of research. I think he might have made more work for himself as I believe many of the professors and some of the students are now scheming up new lines of research! Thanks to Dan for taking his time with us at The Pub Club. Thanks also to Shawna for the great snack selection.
02/19/16 – Following another lively science update session, Brad Day led The Pub Club with a game designed to help us practice our “Elevator Pitch.” The game was played in pairs, with one person drawing a name, such as “Bubba from Tennessee” and the other person drawing a topic, such as “the Howe lab” as demonstrated by Brad Paasch and Sheng Yang below. We had a great time and also got to refine our on the spot, 2-minute science explanation capabilities. Thanks to Ian for the great snacks from Jimmy Johns.
02/12/16 – I don’t know if it was the phase of the moon or our new Sharp Aquos board, but our science update session lasted 25 minutes! Koichi started us off with highlights from the Gordon Research Conference on plant volatiles he attended last week in California. Bethany used our new Sharp Aquos board to show the group the Whiteboard post with the link to the Nature news article by Jennifer Doudna on the broader implications of her contributions to the development of the CRISPR Cas9 technology. Please take some time to read the article before our RCR discussion on genome editing on May 6th, and feel free to use the comment box below the post to share links to other related stories on genome editing. Ian also had fun using our new board to share a long list of science news, including serious and some not so serious stories. After all the updates, Katie Wozniak used our new board to practice her graduate school interview talk and got a lot of good feedback. Brad Paasch also got to take the board for a spin with his first crack at explaining the work he will be doing for his PhD thesis research. Thanks to Cait for the delicious dessert and taking care of snack set-up and clean-up. All in all we had a great week at The Pub Club!
02/05/16 – The Pub Club participated in the poster session for the first 2016 Plant Science recruitment event. We had several members who presented posters (including The Pub Club poster!) and many others who mingled and talked with recruits.
01/29/16 – Dr. Diane Ebert-May joined us at The Pub Club. Following science updates and a chalk talk by Bethany, Diane and the Club discussed everything from the scientific process, teaching and learning. To get a personal perspective, click here to read a post from one of our PIs, Brad Day. Thanks to Xiufang Xin for taking care of snacks, set-up and clean-up.
01/22/16 – Last week at The Pub Club we had the opportunity to hear two of our professors, Brad Day and Gregg Howe, share some of the exciting new research being conducted in their labs. This was a great demonstration for those of us who will be practicing our science communication skills in the coming weeks, and was also an enjoyable discussion time. This is exactly what The Pub Club is about! We enjoyed it so much, we decided to include one of these short talks after our science updates every week. To see more pictures from last week, check out the 2016 Spring – Photo File. Thanks to all who contributed to this week’s science update session, which lasted roughly 20 minutes! Finally, thank you to Alex Corrion for the excellent snack choice – chicken wings from Eastside Fish Fry!
01/15/16 – We had a great brainstorming session on how to best pursue The Pub Club mission this semester. For details, check out “The Pub Club 2016” post.