Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hey everyone,

I've been working almost a month, so I have a lot to say, but hopefully, it's not too hard to read through. First, where I am for the summer. I'm in San Francisco at UCSF's Summer Research Training Program (SRTP). I'm doing research in Yuh-nung Jan's lab, working with a postdoc here. Very generally, I'm working with fruit flies, Drosophila, researching dendrite maintenance. It has been a very enlightening and fun experience. At the beginning, I did quite a bit of paper reading to get some background in the area. I have two main parts to my project and have a good variety of things to do. I'll admit that when I got my own box of vials of flies to take care of, I was excited and kind of proud, but now I have quite a few to monitor. I've also done some molecular biology like PCR and restriction digests, but I've also gotten to do some antibody staining to image neurons. It took me some time to get familiar with everything going on in lab, but my mentor has been very good about explaining the whys of each step I'm working on. I suppose this is enough about lab for now.

The program itself has some seminars in the morning. Either about a general grad school topic or a scientist comes in to present their research and how their career path went. Someone from their admissions committee came in, and I found it informative, especially since I know little about the process of applying, and I always like hearing the research presentations.

Some fun activities I've done in San Francisco so far are visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, Telegraph Hill, Fisherman's Wharf, and I went to a free Lifehouse concert in Golden Gate Park. There are also many good places to eat. San Francisco is such a fun city because there's always something to do, although the weather here is definitely colder than I thought it would be. Last summer, I was quite a bit more isolated. I liked the experience for the summer, but being in the city in a nice change. I didn't bring a computer with me, which is partially inconvenient when I need to go online, but I think also good because I can't get distracted on it as long. I use the work computer. Just a note in case you think you wouldn't survive without it because it is possible. Good bye for now :)

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