Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sabbatical Interview

Today I had an "interview" with a potential sabbatical host at Hub's Institution. She's one of two in the entire place that I could have worked with, based on research interests.

I was pretty intimidated at first, since I gave a talk here several years ago, and she very aggressive with excellent, in-depth questions. Here's that post part 1 and part 2. Here I am prepping for it and terrified freaking out and wondering how to be convincing while sporting an inferiority complex.

Their lab is up a level of organization from my training (think:  tissue from cell). They also study complex signaling stuff, with multiple players and multiple pathways and multiple drugs to block them. I felt a bit like a low-pass filter while the PI was talking: she would introduce an idea and while I was cogitating on it, she had moved on, but I would catch up for a second, then I would process, etc.

The grad students were quite senior and really, REALLY bright.

I loosened up a bit and began hearing myself making suggestions that the PI hadn't thought of before. I realized that I really have something unique to offer this lab besides free labor. Moreover, there were a couple of times when I made a statement and the PI said, no, no its the opposite, and I stood my ground correctly. I came up with ideas for some experiments, too.

This went better than expected for several reasons: teaching several courses regarding the basics of cell and Sub-field biology has made me FAR more informed about things outside of my own research.  I read all the recent papers from the lab and had questions ready. When I asked the first one, they giggled and said, "The reviewers asked us that, too". The teaching at a liberal arts institution has done something to my brain- I can synthesize many sources much better now. I was able to cite papers by author and date that I hadn't looked at in years, and bring in ideas and comparisons that I would not have been able to do 8 years ago, when I *thought* I was at the top of my research game.

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