Archive for September, 2011

Motivation for students – tips for PIs

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment

With the incoming students rotating through labs to find a place for the next several years, it might be useful to read about how some PIs think about how to keep students (and even post-docs) motivated. A well motivated student can be very productive, which will be beneficial to both parties involved.

Uri Alon wrote a piece in Cell over a year ago. He thinks that three condition for motivated behavior is critical:

competence, autonomy, and social connectedness.

The last one seems a bit odd, but think about Uri’s following comment:

… a lot of lab work is dull, and having people to joke with and chat to can turn a mundane day into a fantastic one.

While rotating through labs, looking out for PIs who think like Uri Alon might benefit you, but it might also be helpful to think about these things for those students who have joined a lab already and of course for PIs who are dealing less than optimally motivated students.

Categories: Interesting link

24/7 work ethic for work and leisure

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Recently in Nature two articles (commentary/stories) presented two ways of looking at the 24 hours per day, 7 days per week that is available to all of us.

1. Combining work and life outside the lab into a balanced approach. –> work to live principle (thank you Kasia Kaścielska)

2. Before going to lab, make sure you are already in the lab working, 24/7. –> live to work principle

The are both worth a read and it is always good to develop your own rhythm / balance between work and life.

Categories: Interesting link

Career Exploration Groups For Graduate Students

September 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Graduate Student Career Exploration Group, meets Mondays 10-11:30 in the 2nd Floor North Hall Library:

This group is specifically for graduate students who want explore the fit of one or more career options of interest or expand their consideration of possible careers. Group members will integrate data from their personal strengths, work and family perspectives, and career assessments with occupational information. Group members are asked to increase their exposure to occupational information and opportunities over the course of the term. Please note total cost of assessments is $45 and expected time commitment for activities outside of the 1.5 hour, 6 session group time is approximately 1-2 hours per week.

You may decide whether you want to join the group at the “Orientation to the Career Exploration Groups”, on a first come, first served basis using a sign-in sheet (up to 8, perhaps 10). The orientation provides information about the assessments, the goals of the group, and description of our activities for the 6 sessions. Currently the Orientation date will be during the 3rd week of the term, at the same time/locations as the group meetings, or Oct 10th for  Grad students. If you are interested in participating in this group, please contact

Categories: Job Opporunities, UC Davis

An Evening with the Genome Center and Jonathan Eisen

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Jonathan Eisen’s blog.

Thanks to Kasia Kościelska.

Tips For Biking Around Campus 2013

September 20, 2011 1 comment

For the 3rd year in a row, I am putting forth these tips on how to bike safely and avoid an accident or ticket while riding around Davis. HEED THESE WARNINGS!

The first week of all the students being back in Davis is an exciting time but, also an especially hazardous time. The main danger being, riding your bike in a sea of inexperienced freshmen who are unfamiliar with the rules of the road and the responsibilities of riding a bike in Davis. Here are some tips to help avoid an embarrassing, costly and potentially harmful situation on your bike.

First tip: Get familiar with the laws/rules for riding a bike. A summary of the rules of the road can be found here thanks to TAPS. Cops in Davis will pull you over and ticket you on your bike for: running a stop sign or red light, not using your hand to signal, riding with both headphones in (one is alright), riding inebriated (can lead to losing your drivers license) or otherwise biking irresponsibly/dangerously, and I think most importantly – for not having a bike light at night. A strong front light, back light, even wheel lights, and ideally white or reflective clothing are strongly recommended while biking at night.

Second Tip: Pay attention while entering/exiting rotaries on campus! Most sensible people are familiar with rotaries (or roundabouts as we call them on the east coast), but unfortunately most freshman are not very sensible. Technically the riders in the rotary have the right of way. Bikes entering the rotary must yield to bikes already in the rotary however, do not count on other riders to adhere to this rule. Many people will just bike right into a rotary without looking, so just be aware of this. When exiting the rotary it is never a bad idea to signal, and check over your shoulder that you will not hit another rider as you turn out of the rotary. Also be wary of actual traffic in the rotaries, buses, trucks, and cop cars can cause mass confusion when a high volume of bike traffic is present. Rotaries mishaps account for the majority of collisions and injuries on campus, so just be careful!

Third tip: Don’t be afraid to speak up! While riding around campus, especially around lunch of in between classes you will run into groups of slow moving bikes or people walking in the bike lane. Occasionally you can easily pass them by, but it is often necessary to alert those blocking the way of your presence. Just a quick “On your left/right” can save you from getting nailed by a swerving bike or errant pedestrian. Also very helpful with riders who are unable to ride in a straight line or are completely unaware of their surroundings (be especially aware of Cruiser bikes as they tend to be harder to control).

Davis is a great place to ride a bike, just make sure you do it safely and responsibly. If anyone has any other recommendations or stories please feel free to chime in!

Here is a run down of all the awesome places to ride your bike in Davis thanks to DavisWiki

Updates: When walking in a bike lane, remember to walk on the left side so you can see oncoming traffic. It is also a good idea to buy a U-lock, almost any other kind of lock can be easily cut (and there is nothing worse than finishing a long day in lab, and finding out that your bike has been stolen). Also a good idea to register your bike with the campus police for a variety of reasons.

Also, during the day, especially during class transition times, DO NOT ride beside someone (especially in a bigger group), this prevents other bikers from passing you and is generally not a good idea anytime of day.

Pro tip: As we transition from Summer/Fall into winter remember that the weather changes dramatically. Equipping yourself with splash guards on your front and rear bike tires can save you from getting an impromtu mud facial next time it rains. Riding your bike in the rain is not that bad, as long as you have the right equipment. Getting a solid rain jacket, rain pants, and a pair of water resistant gloves will make you much happier when you arrive at your destination.

Remember to stay alert while biking, and always put safety first. Happy Riding!

Joint MCB Seminar Series for Fall 2011

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment


College of Biological Sciences

FALL 2011

Thursdays, 4:10 p.m., 1022 Life Sciences

September 29
“The role of spindle orientation in neural stem cell homeostasis in Drosophila”
Chris Doe, Ph.D.
Faculty Host: Lesliee Rose (

October 6
“H3K9 methylation- mediated silencing in mouse embryonic stem cells- the writers, the readers and what they read”
Matthew Lorincz, Ph.D.
Host: Paul Ginno (

October 13
“Mechanisms of Molecular Motor Proteins”
Ron Vale, Ph.D.
Host: Brandon Zipp (

October 20
“Mechanisms regulating maintenance of stem cells and the stem cell niche”
Leanne Jones, Ph.D.
Faculty Host: Bruce Draper (

October 27
Jonathan Weissman, Ph.D.
Host: Nancy Nilla (

November 3
“Cellular Mechanisms of Insulin Resistance: Implications for Obesity, Lipodystrophy and Type 2 Diabetes”
Gerald Shulman, Ph.D.
Host: Monica Watson (

November 10
“Molecular assembly of neuronal synapses”
Ann Marie Craig, Ph.D.
Host: Lyndsey Kirk (

November 17
“Centrins & Sfi1 proteins in basal body biology”
Mark Winey, Ph.D.
Faculty Host: Scott Dawson (

December 1
“Wnt signaling, stem cells and tissue maintenance”
Roel Nusse, Ph.D.
Faculty Host: Chengji Zhou (

December 8
Thomas Schwartz, Ph.D.
Faculty Host: Dan Starr (

Categories: Seminar Announcements

Storer Lecture: Matthew Wheeler

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment




Matthew B. Wheeler

Professor of Bioengineering, Biotechnology and Developmental Biology,
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

“Strategies for Regenerating Bone: Stem Cells,
Scaffolds, Growth Factors and Patients.”

Monday, October 10, 2011

4:10 P.M.
1005 Genome Center

Dr. Wheeler is a pioneering researcher in the use of stem cells to overcome the limitations imposed by bone grafting as the gold standard for bone replacement. Bone is a tissue that exhibits plasticity and a large capacity for healing under normal circumstances. However, extensive bone loss due to disease or trauma requires tissue-engineering applications. Dr. Wheeler studies adipose-derived stem cells (ASC) that have similar immunophenotype, morphology, multilineage potential, and transcriptome compared to the more commonly used cell source bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BMSC). His data illustrate that ASC are
much more abundant, more accessible, have lower donor morbidity compared with BMSC, and are able to migrate to the site of injury with immunosuppressive abilities similar to BMSC. This seminar will present results that provide support for the clinical translation of ASC, patient-specific scaffolds and growth factors for bone regeneration. Dr. Wheeler is the recipient of the H.H. Mitchell Award for Excellence in Research and Teaching at the University of Illinois and is a past President of the International Embryo Transfer Society.

Categories: Seminar Announcements