All posts for the month April, 2020

Hello, readers. I have contacted Dr. S. and am awaiting a reply on whether he would like to actually work with me on testing the hypothesis I had (which forms the basis for the project this website is devoted to, Project Cancer-Fighting Gut Bacteria), instead of simply publishing a hypothesis. In the meantime, I’ve been in touch with a few people who are interested in sharing my podcast episode one, which is devoted to an idea I have had which might be very useful, about leveraging existing clinical trial data.

While I work on podcast episode two, I have exhumed some soil microbial ecology ideas from a while ago (as much as a year or two ago!) and I’m seeing if I can get traction on those with my current research group. Much of what I want to do I can do alone, with sufficient data. So far things are promising.

I am reminded, each time I write to a new person or contact someone I already know, that whether I am listened to depends on whether people think I have anything of value to contribute. I am not a visible minority, but I feel for visible minority scientists- it’s hard enough to be taken seriously as an older woman on the fringes of the profession, without a “real job” to prove I have merit. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to navigate that plus racial bias.

If I ever do get a “real job”, I wonder if the people who dismiss me now (or have consistently ignored me) will change their minds about me, and if they will even realize the unspoken, possibly unrealized reasons why? When I was young I thought scientific communities were merit-based, but as I grow older and see mediocre people with connections get fancy job titles and more respect than the people who actually understand more and think better, I have my doubts. There are some serious injustices in how science is conducted everywhere in the world, and the silencing of “insignificant” voices like mine, is, frankly, one of them.

How many brilliant minds are overlooked in every walk of life because people assume they can’t have anything valuable to contribute?

Hi! If you’ve been following this blog, you will realize that I’m both trying to promote an important idea about clinical trials with a podcast (other forms of communication will follow), and at the same time, either share or test an idea I had in 2013 which has developed a bit over time. I’ve written up this 2013 hypothesis in a paper I had planned to simply submit to the journal mBio, and if they took it, I planned on just leaving it at that, and hoping someone would eventually find it useful. However. I’m going to try one more time to talk to Dr. S. at UCLA and see if he wants to genuinely try for funds to test this hypothesis ourselves.

I’ve been getting very uninformative and non-scientific feedback from the emails I’m getting, which, combined with my bipolar disorder and natural tendency from that to become paranoid, is making me wonder- am I talking to who I think I am when I send and get replies via email, at all? I wrote about this in my fiction blog a little, but intercepting the emails between myself and Dr. S. would be a fairly elaborate scheme, merely to defraud me of the ability to talk to another scientist- and why would anyone do that? Since this is so highly improbable, I am inclined to think I’m just being paranoid. Which makes me think I need to take a step back and monitor my thought patterns, to see if I’m recovered from my symptoms or getting worse. A lot of people are under stress right now and it makes sense that I would be one of them.

In any case, I’m hanging on to my ideas for now, except the most important one about clinical trials, and I’ve actually gotten some useful advice on how to package that (by itself). That alone is heartening.

Please stay safe, and at home when you can.

I started a podcast which covers information I hope will give people something to look forward to, namely ways in which treatments or vaccines can be found to end the pandemic and our social isolation. In the first episode I focus on the idea I’ve had for leveraging clinical trials that are currently underway to fight the pandemic. I really do think this is an important idea. I mention this a lot, but I think it bears repeating.

Future episodes will focus on how clinical trials work, and existing research done by others into promising treatments or vaccines for COVID-19 infection.

The podcast link is here:

I am also planning on putting these episodes on YouTube, under the channel SolvingThePandemic. These videos to follow. [EDIT: The first episode video is here.]

Thanks for any support or sharing. -Liz

More later

Hey everyone- I’m suffering a LOT from bipolar delusions, and so I’m going to have to take it easy for a few days or so. My earlier post that is most interesting, about how to leverage existing clinical trials to fight the pandemic, is here. The papers I reference in it which I wrote or rewrote I’m just posting to this website. Links to come. [EDIT: I decided against this- I’ll publish them formally in time once I find an appropriate outlet.]

It’s occurred to me that the functional redundancy stuff I mentioned earlier for soil data might be applicable to studies of gut dysbiosis and there should be a lot of useful data in databases to work with, provided I can get adequate metadata, but I just need to rest a bit before I try to do this or anything else.

I’m thinking of submitting the hypothesis to mBio but the other stuff about COVID-19 and dysbiosis and inflammation, and the more important clinical trial idea, I don’t know how to package that; it was rejected from MedRxiv for “just being a proposal” so- a second hypothesis paper? Based on the first? Would anyone publish that?