Showing posts from February, 2023

Those bright bands

Maikani's gel. Every bright band represents a successful PCR. "I'm gonna streak this!" Maikani practically squealed. She was making a motion with her hands that I had only ever seen in situations of extreme excitement - rubbing one palm over the other as if doling out cash. She pulled out her phone and snapped a picture of the gel, then began furiously typing. Is that what she meant by "streaking" - something to do with an app?  As it turns out, yes. Apparently "streaking," no longer a term for running nude through public, means sending a photo to every single one of your contacts on SnapChat. Tell you what, I only ever feel old when I hear Maikani talk about social media.  She deserved to be excited. We had just gotten an amazing result - the most successful PCR the lab had seen in months. After seemingly endless troubleshooting of DNA extraction  and amplification methods, it seemed we had succeeded. In fact, I was reminded why I had settled on

Boston Ballet: part 2

If you were walking quickly, checking your phone, or focusing on your feet, you would never notice 19 Clarendon Street. It's a brick building in a metropolitan plaza, surround by storefronts, parking lots, and an organic café. The windows are even covered so passersby can't see inside. But if you know where you're going, or if you pay attention to the photos on the window covers, you will arrive at the headquarters of the Boston Ballet.  The boardroom sits above and peers into the  large rehearsal studio. During La Mer , we were actually sitting on chairs against the mirror. Here, dancers are warming up for an afternoon rehearsal. Once you step inside the front door, it is a different world. Gone are the street noise and the towering brick facades. Instead, a faint wisp of piano music floats down from the second floor. A grand staircase winds through the center of the building - not carpeted in velvet like a mansion, but surrounded by white walls that reflect the sunlight f

Team Porites

I love the ways that science connects people. It breaks down walls and builds bridges across oceans. Being part of this community is the most marvelous feeling.  Team Porites is in my mind the epitome of scientific community. I've bragged about my team before - we're diverse and collaborative and absolutely obsessed with corals. Of all the things we've accomplished during our field trips to Palau, endless lab work, sequencing, and data analysis, the thing I am most proud of is our team dynamic. Individuality is respected. Opinions are valued. Conflicts are resolved. Personalities can thrive.  I got to bask in the scientific community of my team this week when Sarah and Cas came to visit Woods Hole. Sarah was the first speaker for an immersive course on coral reef sensing and solutions at WHOI, and Cas traveled with her. It was so good to see them. It was especially exciting because Maikani is in my lab right now, so our science team was only missing Matthew-James.  Te

Boston Ballet

Earlier this week, a friend in WHOI's Communications Department emailed me to ask if I was back from the Arctic. "I want to hear all about the trip," he wrote, "but first I want to interest you in something fun."  The Boston Ballet has commissioned an artwork about humanity's relationship to the ocean. The piece, which incorporates dance, video, and live music, is choreographed by Nanine Linning. In preparation for the performance, which opens on April 6, the Boston Ballet has undertaken an exploration of how humans interact with the ocean and partnered with WHOI to provide a scientific perspective. There's also a documentary being made about the creative process behind Linning's piece, including interactions with scientists. As some of you may know, I studied ballet all through childhood and was introduced to West African dance in college. I even taught dance classes when I lived in Germany and during grad school in Oregon. My friend in Communicati

On the way down: part 2

Kharis presenting her research at Arctic Frontiers. Photo by Annkathrin Dischereit. I parted from Kharis in Longyearbyen. While I headed straight home, she had plans to spend the weekend hiking with a friend and then attend a conference in Tromsø.  Today, Kharis messaged me "Talk went well" and attached a photo of herself presenting. It was the news I had been waiting for. I was very curious how her presentation would be received, considering both the preliminary nature of the data and the context in which she was presenting.  The conference is called Arctic Frontiers, and it's held every year in Troms ø. I presented  back in 2019  and even participated in a parallel early-career workshop . I was excited for Kharis to have the same experience. Unfortunately, the workshop was cancelled this year, but she still got to experience the conference. Arctic Frontiers is really unique because it has not just scientific presentations but also panels on geopolitical issues and cult