06/24/16 – Last Friday Brian shared a Science story on DNA-based nanoparticles that had us talking for quite some time. Check out all the possible shapes they can make here. We then talked about our options for careers after getting our PhDs, which led to us re-visiting the Plant Science Decadal Vision put out by HHMI, ASPB, NSF, USDA and DOE: Unleashing a Decade of Innovation in Plant Science: A Vision for 2015 – 2025. This document outlines the top priorities for plant science research over the next several years, and spells out the need for a greater breadth of graduate student training to ensure the next generation of scientists is capable of tackling these challenges. Another good read is an article by Crispin Taylor, “How to Grow a Plant Biologist,” a link for which is in this blog post: Career Opportunities for Plant Scientists. Finally, The Pub Club recently started following ASBMB (American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) on Twitter. They have a lot of career-related resources, including options for those exploring non-academic careers. A couple we browsed on Friday include a workshop on “Careers Beyond the Bench,” which is being held in Baltimore this August, and also an article on “How to become a good lab manager,” which has good advice for anyone looking to become the head of a research lab in either academia or industry.
06/17/16 – Last Friday Brian started us off with an update on one of the long-term research projects by MSU’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) at the Kellogg Biological Station. The project involves looking at the effects of adding nitrogen fertilizer to grow switchgrass, which is one of the top biofuel candidates. This resulted in a longer conversation regarding the challenges of farming in a productive, sustainable and environmentally responsible way. Following this discussion, Bethany shared the new resources added to the site, including the “MyGradSkills” site and Jennifer Polk’s “Top 10 tips…” blog post. We ended by watching the first half of a talk from former HHMI president and Nobel laureate, Thomas Cech, giving advice on transitioning into a faculty position. This resulted in a lively discussion on the advantages of choosing a tenured vs. pre-tenured professor as a mentor for your PhD.
06/10/16 – Science updates this week included a nice resource for getting your conference poster printed on fabric (click here to check out the website), and a Nature Plants article on the often overlooked, but very important role of mentoring in science. Links for both can also be found in The Pub Club twitter feed. Following science updates, Adam Seroka shared some of his dancing plant videos with us. Since he is in the initial stages of designing his PhD thesis project, he was able to get input from the group on questions he may want to consider and also tips for how to optimize his set-up. This is a great way to take advantage of The Pub Club!
06/03/16 – Last week at The Pub Club science updates were quite lively. We started off by browsing a recent post describing how The Pub Club can help us build our Communication skills. From there we learned what makes a bourbon “neat,” had a mini-RCR discussion led by Brad Day based on Kevin Folta’s recent blog post “You’re Only as Good as Your Co-author’s Integrity,” read about increasing toxicity of crop plants in response to drought and high temperature stress, looked up which states raise the most cattle, and more! Many of these stories we found by browsing our Twitter feeds…another great example of how you can use social media to stay on the edge of science and simply have fun learning random things!
05/27/16 – Last week at The Pub Club we devoted an entire hour to science updates. We also discussed having another summer BBQ, and will be sending a Doodle poll around soon to select a date. Towards the end of our conversation, Cait was giving James an update on something related to their microbiome project. As there were others in the room who were not familiar with their project, Cait explained briefly what they were doing as well as some of the technical difficulties they have been having. It just so happens that Brian was there, and was able to give them some tips using his engineering training. That’s what I call a successful Pub Club! You never know what positive outcomes may result from taking time at the end of your busy week to sit down and talk with your fellow scientists. Hope you all had a great Memorial Day Weekend. See you next Friday.
05/20/16 – We had a lively discussion on a wide range of genome-editing related ethics topics. If you were unable to attend, or if you did attend and had stories to share that we were not able to discuss, feel free to add them using the comment box below the The Ethics of Genome Editing post.
05/13/16 – Our Skype mini-conference with the Weigel lab in Tuebingen, Germany was a great success! For those of you who participated, be sure to leave a comment on “Reflections on The Pub Club Meets Weigel World” post to share your thoughts on the event. Here are a few pictures taken from our side of the event. To see pictures from the Weigel lab side, check out Gautam’s Twitter @gaushi!
05/06/16 – Following our science updates, we took a virtual tour through the Weigel lab website in preparation for our upcoming Skype mini-conference on Friday, May 13. We were very impressed by the diversity and magnitude of the projects the Weigel lab has undertaken and are looking forward to our upcoming “Meeting of the Minds.”