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All posts for the month May, 2020

After 6 years of trying and much effort on my part, I decided to simply call it quits with investigating my hypothesis and see if I can’t just publish the hypothesis alone.

It was submitted to mBio and is under review. Things are going really slowly these days, so I am not expecting a speedy turnaround with a review, but at least it was not summarily rejected.

In other news, I am mostly now fully recovered from a bout of strange paranoid thoughts; there is not a lot of soil microbial ecology work on my plate at the moment (though I have an idea I want to continue to test), and so I’ll be getting to that just as soon as I finish my long-neglected second podcast episode, describing how clinical trials work. I want to focus on Moderna’s RNA vaccine. I am hoping to write the episode tomorrow if all goes well, and record it on Monday.

If you are wondering about my competence as a scientist because I suffer occasionally from symptoms of mental illness, I probably should remind you that the entire time I’m suffering from paranoid thoughts or worries about conspiracies, I am aware that I have this problem and I watch out for it. I use logic and reason to defuse the thoughts I have and tend not to buy fully into them, and let the actual delusions fade over time (as they do). I can’t say what other bipolar people experience or if they act irrationally (I tend not to, though I admit it takes me a lot of thinking to figure out if my fears are valid or not), and I would argue that the majority of mentally ill people are more at risk from society than the other way around. I am not ashamed of my diagnosis and I would argue that it’s a side effect of heightened intelligence and creativity, both things you want in a scientist.

Have a great day.

Update

Hello, readers!

My hypothesis paper is actually finished in a format that mBio would accept for a preliminary review, it’s just that I don’t want to try to publish it without testing the hypothesis and turning it into a real paper. I have not been able to contact Dr. S yet (and this reticence on a subject that should be dear to his heart, studies of the bacterium he patented, makes me wonder whom I am talking to at all, honestly- he’s been supportive but not offering scientific advice of any use, which makes me think I’m actually talking to someone else). The importance of Zoom at a time like this can’t be understated.

So while I finish things for my soil ecology lab job, I am keeping, in the back of my mind, a list of things to do to dust off the proposals I have written already and see if they can be funded by a non-NIH program, or if I can find someone else to help. It honestly would be so much easier if I had a laboratory of my own since the work really is not that difficult- the hardest part is finding a person with expertise in preclinical studies and lymphoma diagnostics, and a few pieces of equipment. The right collaborator would be fine. All the molecular work I’ve envisioned is not particularly hard- I’ve done the basic stuff already in a borrowed lab at UCLA in a few days in 2014, using bits and pieces of used kits and reagents. I work on a campus with a veterinary college, it is not impossible to find a cancer specialist. Just that I need to be able to interest someone in the work AND find a colleague that won’t leave me hanging. Money in hand helps a lot.

I know it’s likely they mock me for this blog, and at the same time avidly try to read between the lines to figure out what I’m really thinking or what the details of my work really are- this was my experience for 11 months and it was awful. They even had a “What Are You Thinking About” segment in “lab meetings” and I’d lie about what I was thinking about. Those segments stopped when I confided in several people that I had no intention of ever telling anyone what I was thinking of.

I’m glad I worked in a healthier environment after that, and while I continue to wonder about some of my colleagues (like Dr. S- he really has been underinvolved), I am so much more productive when I’m not paranoid all the time.

[Update: I still am struggling with paranoid symptoms but I am on the mend. In the meantime, I’ve made some good progress with soil ecology projects, and as for Project: Cancer-Fighting Gut Bacteria, I know it’s a tough sell just as a theory with no supporting evidence. I’ve had a colleague read the paper and he says it is “wild”, and not entirely convincing because of this. When I am feeling better I will see what I can do to write a grant with someone supportive with the right background, to finally nail this down.]