Saturday, June 03, 2006

An unexpected compliment

I had almost forgotten about Leonie's flattering compliment. On Tuesday, when Ramesh was here for the siRNA conference, and we were having dinner upstairs at the cafeteria, two German guys were sitting next to us. One of these was a young group leader in Ramesh's current institute, and when he had been introduced before his talk, I had heard that he had done his postdoc in Heidelberg. So I enquired about people I knew from that lab and he asked where I had worked. As soon as I said EMBL and Jürg, the other German guy sitting next to me introduced himself as Marc (Leonie's boyfriend who works in Bielefeld, I hadn't gone for his talk at the conference) and that Leonie had told him about me being in Anton's group. Later when Leonie came and I told her that I'd met Marc, she said that she had told him about "how much fun the joint lab-meetings [progress-reports] are because of [my] contributions". Wow! That was nice to hear!!

We have been having weekly joint progress reports with her group since more than a month, and from this week we started an alternate-weekly joint Epigenetics Journal Club as well. It is true that right from the beginning, I have been liberal with my questions and comments in our own progress reports, and apart from Anton, I probably am the most vocal in these. Now that we have them with her group, I continue my barrage of questions, comments and interruptions because in our group I am the most familiar with their area of research as it was my own during my PhD.

Nevertheless, I was quite taken aback by her compliment and also that she had actually told this even to Marc so that he knew all about me!

In a related development, during the Epigenetics Journal Club today, she jokingly suggested that I participate in their Polycomb Journal Club, and I did sign up. It'll take up quite a bit of my time, but I think it will be very useful and I'll enjoy it. But it starts at 9am every wednesday, so I have to be in the institute well before that...


The Visitor said...

What do you do in journal club meetings? How many journal clubs are there and how often do they meet?

A.S. said...

Scientists have to keep themselves upto-date with the research happening all over the world, in their own area, in related areas and in areas of general interest even if that does not directly pertain to their own research. Every week thousands of papers get published in one's broad area of interest, and it is not humanely possible to read all of these. Moreover, merely reading these is not the only issue-- one has to look at the data critically, whether the experiments have been done properly, whether the assumptions are reasonable, whether the inferences are reasonable.

So one way we deal with this to have "journal clubs" on specialized or more general topics. In each session (which is usually weekly) one person would select a paper which is likely to interest the whole group and present it to the rest of the group which allows us to critically discuss the experiments, the inferences there of, the relevence and how it affects thinking in our own research.

I hope I have been able to answer your question.