Graduate Studies

Every week is Research Week

Signing up for a presentation at OHSU Research Week was, for me, a no-brainer. Having spent time in two of the most presentation-heavy graduate programs here at OHSU (Biomedical Informatics & Behavioral Neuroscience), I have given approximately infinitely many research talks since I began my journey as an OHSU graduate student back in 2005. These days, public speaking in front of an audience comes slightly easier to me than speaking one-on-one (sadly, my girlfriend won’t … Read More

Natural indulgence

Color! Color! Color is all around! The blossoms are falling, the rhododendrons and camellias blooming, and the MacHall fountain providing riparian-esque entertainments.  All these happenings, in addition to the odd sun/rain/snow/hail phenomena periodically expressing itself, suggest that Spring is finally here and Summer just around the metaphorical corner. For me, these seasonal changes are energizing. Just as there is inherent catharsis when walking in the rain, so too exists inherent rejuvenation in the sensory overload … Read More

Coming Of Age

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which lab is fairest of them all? As I understand it, there are three events in the life of a Biology Graduate Student that sit as milestones on the scientific career roadway. First, entering a dissertation lab. Second, passing qualifying exams. Third, thesis defense. I am sure other, older and wiser students and mentors have their own opinions on where each fits on the importance scale.  To me, those are … Read More

March Madness

March is upon us! For the PMCB Firsties, recruitment weekends are over and the last three weeks of Winter Term face us like a charging rhinoceros. Soon, some of us will be choosing labs to call home for the next 4-5 years. Others will be finishing that all important third rotation.  Going through rotations is akin to immigration and exodus. The difference between the two depends on how your PI views your staying and going. … Read More

Opportunities in translation

One of the many challenges of starting a career in research is finding a successful path early on.  There’s no use putting the entire course of your life on track to be the worlds greatest Phrenologist or VCR repair man, you want to pick a field that’s going to be around in 5 years.  Or better yet, choose a field that wont even exist for five years, and be one of the first to make the big … Read More

Assembly required

Hello Lady! Yes, that salutation is a clear act of thievery from my favorite New York radio host Elvis Duran, but I just had to include it. The first three weeks of the new term for the downtrodden PMCB firsties have passed, and with them came new classes, new rotation labs, and slushy-experiment-gone-bad-weather (here’s a little present for all you closet Gleeks out there).  Instead of Biochem and Genetics, we are now being navigated through … Read More

Nothing to lose, funding & perspective to gain!

Taped to the wall next to my computer is a picture of an adorable little boy who suffers from a genetic disease. His mom sent it to me when she mailed in forms for my clinical research project that is funded by an Oregon Clinical & Translational Research Center training grant. Being chosen as one of the 2011-2012 recipients of the yearlong Oregon Students Learn and Experience Research (OSLER) training grant has been a wonderful … Read More


Friends & family know—I love me some R. It’s not just my tattoo of co-founders Robert Gentleman & Ross Ihaka (Fig. 1), although that probably is a contributing factor, it’s the fact that I’m constantly talking about the open source stats. language, extolling its virtues from the highest to the lowest points of OHSU (5th floor of the BICC, & when the administration realized the Supreme Court was serious about removing the tort cap, respectively). … Read More

Getting inspired at the 11th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students

As I was leaving Portland to attend the 11th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS), as one of four people sent to represent OHSU, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Having only attended one other scientific conference that was in my specific field and did not include undergraduates, I was unprepared for the noise level and high energy that I encountered as I walked into the America’s Center in St. Louis, MO. ABRCMS … Read More

Where’s the Tylenol?

Looking outside, the weather seems to mimic my current outlook on life: dark, stormy, and full of gray patches. Luckily, ’tis the season of Christmas lights (or Hanukkah or Kwanza lights, if you would rather) and as we enter December, I feel more illuminated with each glowing yard ornament I see. After all, when else could you have an illuminated, life-sized Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus, Rudolph, angels, shepherds, snowflakes, candy canes, and reindeer in … Read More



Ever wondered what life is like as a student at OHSU? What does it take to become a researcher? Just how gross is gross anatomy? Welcome to the blog that answers these – and many other – questions. It’s students writing first-hand about their commitment to careers in science and health care. It’s honest about the challenges as well as the joys. It’s not always pretty. But it is our story. Thank you for sharing it with us. And please, let us know what you think.

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