10 04 2015

Dear Monkey, This is letter is so overdue. Its partly late partly because mommy is trying to finish school and partly because mommy can’t believe you’re already 8. How did this happen so fast? And how is it that you’ve instantly gone from this sweet little boy to this confident 8 year old boy with all the boyish obsession over body parts and sillyness that comes with 8. I have to admit, sweetheart I am unequipped to deal with this change. I can see that you sense that. You seem to be closer to your dad, which is so great because lets be honest, I was never an eight-year old boy. You still continue to amaze me with your kindness and intelligence. Now as you grow older, you challenge me to think about life in different ways. The questions you ask are no longer easy to answer and that I don’t know everything. I’m lucky that you’re OK with that and together we’re learning together. This also seems to be the year where you are starting to practice the all important preteen/teenage attitude. I have to admit, its been driving me a bit nutty. But I think some deep breathing on my part will help. I promise to keep trying to be patient if you promise to keep letting me snuggle with ya before you go to sleep. LOVE YOU mom


its been awhile

1 04 2015

I apparently haven’t written a post since bears birthday. Which means I haven’t written monkeys birthday letter. Its been getting harder and harder to write those. I should, as i’m sure he will love it if I ever let him read it.

this is me trying to re-connect. After having bear, I stopped blogging. I was finding it hard to stay on top of it what with balancin 2 kids, my commute and lab work. Plus it was getting harder and harder to keep my pseud. But I need to write. I miss my bloggy friends. In the last 6 months I’ve stopping being on twitter as well so I feel disconnected from my science community. I’m trying to get back on twitter. It requires me to give up my candy crush addiction. Which is so damn hard. But hopefully I’m still in your feeds.

I’m writing my thesis right now so…..

Three going on I’m ready to rule the world

11 08 2014

Dear Bear,

You’re three! A big girl that can swim to the dock by yourself, pick you own clothes and play for laughs with the best of them. My dear readers here don’t know you very well as you don’t give me even a moment to write down how amazing you are. You have given me lots of opportunities to take pictures and video, but not give you 110% of my attention at all times is unacceptable. Its not too bad, you’re big brother is more than happy to help fill your “look at me” desires. Might have something to do with the fact that you know just how to go running to him when I say no. It amazes me to see how well wrapped he and your dad is. You can play them like fiddles.  I am impressed.

You are the daughter I always wanted.  A girl who will cuddle with me, hug me, a girl that I can show all the amazing things she can do. Just only when you want too. You cuddle on your terms, when you want. You own the world and let everyone know it. You have no fear of consequences for not listening or anything else. You challenge every boundary we set. Everyday. All day. Multiple times. I love your tenacity and never want you to lose it, even though it makes me want scream multiple times a day.

My littlest bear you are so smart. It amazes me how quickly you learn. How much you can remember. You heard a song once in the morning and in the evening you were singing and dancing to it. You love to dance. You love to sing. I love to watch you rocking out as you change your clothes, eat your dinner or just simply to dance and sing in the middle of a lake. About how you love to be in the middle of the lake.

There is so much I love about you. You are my dearest little bear, sweetheart. I hope I can foster your fearlessness, nurture your intelligence and let you know that I am always here for you. To support, encourage and yes to let you grow.

love you babe,


I don’t know how to help ScienceMama

17 04 2014

I started blogging a long long time ago. When monkey was just barely 1.5 years old, I was coming back from my first maternity leave, returning to lab that was in a downward spiral. Thanks to some great readers, whom provided amazing advice I was able to make some really really good choices. Now 6 years and 2 kids later I’m in my final year, trying finish up papers and full of confidence.

6 + years ago the science blogging commmunity was small, I both was so excited and intimidated by the some of the people I read, and who read my words. I was lucky enough to be able to have some really amazing relationships. To become friends off line with some of the bloggers. One such amazing person is ScienceMama – Her blog Mother of all Scientists has been dormant since she had her second kid and finished her post-doc. I’ve been fortunate to maintain contact with her though facebook.

It was a punch in the gut to learn today that her partner has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I’m not sure how much private information to put on a public blog, but a donation page has been set up for her family. I don’t know if I should link to it here or have people send me emails. I just know she needs our help. Posting her info would be outing her. Medical help in the USA is extra-ordinarily expensive. I just don’t know. love and hugs to ScienceMama

Calling all bio-stats ppl

8 01 2014

Ok folks, I need help and trying to describe what I need on twitter isn’t really working because of the whole 140 character thing. So has many of you know, I am a drosophilist, which means I work on the best model organism EVAH, unless of course you work on something else but can still help me. cough *not* cough….

Seriously, though I’m going to ask some Qs without giving away any specific details because this isn’t published yet etc. I work on the imaginal wing disc of the drosophila and because flies are the most awesomist organism ever, we use the UAS-GAL4  which allows us to knock down genes in specific regions of the disc, which is really cool because we always have an internal wildtype control. You can do a google search of imaginal disc with uas gal 4 and you’ll find amazing images like these ones

So I use a driver to knockdown geneA and look at its effect. I’m specifically interested in looking at the effects, more specifically if any changes occur in the distrubution of proteinB after RNAi knockdown of geneA. I’ve done this experiment multiple times and imaged alot of discs. I’ve taken z-projections and looked at the mean gray values of ProteinB in the z-projection analysis

I’m not looking at the solid red lines, I’m looking at the red dashes within each box. I’m asking if the mean gray value of the WT box is different than the mean gray value of the RNAi box? IE are there less dashes in RNAi box vs the WT.  I did this analysis in ImageJ and recognize its a crude estimate as there is a lot of white space one both sides, which may mask changes but a girl can’t be picky.

So say  I have done this analysis on 30 discs, each with a WT and RNAi mean gray value (MGV). I’ve used Prism to set up a 1 variable group, with WT in ColumnA and RNAi in ColumnB. I ran a pair-wise t-test but I don’t think that is correct because a pair-wise T-test is asking if the differences between the WT and RNAi is consistent. I don’t care if the differences are consistent because there are many factors which may make 1 disc have a greater difference than another disc. I want to know if the difference is important. If I divide each RNAi MGV by the its WT  by its internal MGV, I get a value that is different than 1. How do I test if this is significant? Do I use a ratio t test? or is any difference significant?

Any ideas on how to do this analysis? Because proteinB is a phospho proteins its staining is very punctate so if you have better idea for how to analysis the images that would be awesome too.



6 01 2014

Seven years ago I became a mother, for the first time. I’m not sure how you went from the a scrawny, ashy 7 lb baby to a 7 year old star wars loving, video game obessed boy. A boy who’s head touches my shoulders. At seven. Every year, I write these letters to you. Every year I amazed at your capacity to think and reason. But this year, I’m amazed at not only your capacity to love but your capacity and to move forward. This year, I am learning from you.

Its been another hard year for you.. Its started normal enough, but then we had some family issues, we had the horrible break in and then of course our beloved SMDog had to say good bye. These are hard issues you’ve had to deal with. You’ve forgiven these people for the harm they’ve done you with. You did this not blindly but after careful consideration. You asked very hard questions to try and understand why things happen. This ability to try to understand another persons perspective amazes me. You’re 7 and have more empathy than many adults I know.  You stick by your family, making sure your little sisters and cousins are involved in your birthday. Going so far as to share your birthday with your sister.

Yet you’re not a pushover. As easy going and laid back as you are, you will not be pushed into doing something you don’t want to do. You have a quiet determination that both excites and terrifies me. You will do what you want.

I hope you maintain your empathy through your life. You’re always this sympathetic, that life and the world doesn’t jade you. Happy 7th birthday monkey. I love you


#StandingwithDNlee and I’m #StandingwithMonicaByrne

15 10 2013

By now, most of you know what went down over this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. If not click over to <a href="http://isisthescientist.com/2013/10/

    11/tell-someone-no-get-called-a-whore-standingwithdnlee-batsignal/”>Dr.Isis’s blog for the low down of how a WoC scientist was called a whore for asking to be paid to do her professional science job.

    When Dr.Isis sent out the batsignal, the majority of science bloggers, male, female, white and all other hues responded. They were pissed. This was an easy one to get right; really who name calls on email to a stranger?! Especially one who is a prominent and well known diversity advocate in the science communication sphere. I found out about the lovely little fuck up by some random editor via twitter, when some of my favourite tweeters were talking about brawls. In the few spare moments I had, I retweeted some of there very awesome posts on the matter. When I checked my Newsify, a lot of bloggers had reblogged DNLee’s original SciAm post. As you can see it’s now up and running. Through this weekend I kept wondering why Bora Zivkovic, the SciAm blog editor hadn’t said anything.

    I awoke this am with intention of also reblogging Dr.Lees post even if I was late to the party. I wanted to support my fellow scientist but I was distracted by this happened:

    UPDATE, 10/14/13: The man is Bora Zivkovic, Blogs Editor for Scientific American. There’s no reason for me anymore not to name him publicly, which I’d long wanted to do anyway. Reading about this incident is what reminded me (independent of whether or not he had anything to do with that post’s original deletion, which I don’t know).

    I was shocked at 6:00am. I didn’t know what to think. I know who Bora is, I was so excited when he started following me on twitter, bloggers who inspired me into this blogging endeavour wrote about how much they respected him. I quickly looked on my twitter stream and except for two tweets, I saw nada. Then I saw some of Dr.Isiss tweets. I read her post. I thought to myself “Is this why Bora hadn’t said anything about the DNLee situation?” I looked at Boras twitter feed and didn’t see anything.

    It was early in the morning, I had to get out of the house and into a busy day in the lab. Randomly during dinner and the kids bedtime I checked my Newsify / twitter feeds. There is no outrage or shock. Yes DrugMonkey and Odyssey had posts that made me think they were talking about it but they didn’t really make it clear that Bora had sexually harassed someone and used a lame ass excuse. Except of this tweet from @MarkCC, I haven’t really seen any outrage. Why? Where is it? Unless I’ve missed it. Perhaps all the posts have gone up in the 45 minutes it took me to tap this out on my iPad? Or is it because Bora still has power in the Sci Communication field? I mean I saw tweets of people saying they support their friend Bora. WTF?! I’m not saying he can’t be sorry or he isn’t remorseful and can’t be reformed, but that doesn’t mean you excuse or treat him lightly. As a person that has experienced sexual harassment, I call bullshit on the kid gloves that the community is using. I’m sure “odjek” friends and family think he’s a swell guy too. He’s probably going through “stuff” and wasn’t thinking.

    Sexual harassment does major harm and it does even more harm when the harassers colleagues know. Other PIs knew what was going on in my case, they “offered” sympathy. No one ever punished my harasser. It doesn’t look like Bora is receiving any either.