Eating Well on a Grad Student Stipend

This post originally appeared September 6th, 2013 on Gradhacker.orgFood via  Flickr user epSos.ed

There is no escaping the need to eat. Graduate student stipends are notoriously tight though, leaving room for the question, “How do I eat well on a student stipend?”

Have no fear, there is no need to live off of ramen (unless you love it, then by all means go right ahead).  As an admitted foodie, I was worried that I would have to revert to my undergrad ways of ramen and bulk off-brand lucky charms after two years working in a paying job and eating vegetables. Once I adjusted to a new city, different food availability, and a new food budget in graduate school I realized that as students we can afford to eat healthy, filling food that tastes good—something I realized AFTER I gained 10 pounds eating numerous pilfered, bland seminar bagels over the course of a semester. All it takes is a willingness to shop in new ways, learn some basic cooking skills, and spend some time in the kitchen.  Most importantly, I learned that there are two main actions you can take to get the best food on a student budget: buy smarter and cook at home. Continue reading Eating Well on a Grad Student Stipend

Hacking Time Management for the Bench Scientist

This article originally appeared on Gradhacker.org on August 9th, 2013.CC use via Flickr user archer10

Many of us in the sciences begin graduate school not only with classes, but with extensive lab rotations that center upon completing bench science as well. This is the real classroom for many scientists-in-training and is an invaluable training experience. However, for some students it can be difficult to be productive during such a short time (some rotations last only a few weeks), so learning good time management skills at the bench will aid you now in your rotations and down the road in your dissertation lab.

I worked on my time management as a research assistant prior to graduate school and still struggled to balance classes and significant hours in the lab. I’ve come to refer to my time management method for lab work as the “Russian nesting  doll approach.” These basic principles can be widely applied in a variety of research situations. Continue reading Hacking Time Management for the Bench Scientist

Opening Pandora’s Box to find the largest virus on Earth

法国发现新巨型病毒 可能来自外太空(图)
Colorized Pandoravirus electron microscopy(图) (Photo credit: 禁书网中国禁闻)

This last year has had many important developments in the field of microbiology, but by far one of the most interesting is the publication discovery of the Pandoravirus genus of viruses. Published in the July 19th 2013 issue of Science Magazine, it is undeniably the biggest virus ever discovered; both in terms of its genome (2.5 MILLION base pairs in length) and it’s physical size ( at 1 micrometer in length it can be seen with a LIGHT microscope!).

So why do these new viruses matter? Why is it so groundbreaking to find a virus of this size? Read on to learn more about the importance of the discovery of these giant viruses. Continue reading Opening Pandora’s Box to find the largest virus on Earth