2015 is turning out to be a pretty good year! I just got back from a long day at the College of Veterinary Medicine Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Symposium where I presented a poster on my preliminary results of the diversity and distribution of lions in Zambia and was the winner (that’s 1st place) for the graduate student poster presentations!!!!
As a graduate student, there will be times when you feel like a fraud. In an interdisciplinary program and a member of the college of veterinary medicine I am often surrounded by microbiologists, biochemists and veterinarians who’s use of medical jargon and super cellular hoopla puts my macro-brain into a tailspin. Today was such a day. I read many posters and listened to even more talks which exceeded my veterinary knowledge. So, I didn't think I was in the running to win an award. But, rather than let it get the best of me, I stayed for the entire symposium, listened and tried to broaden my scope.
I was literally shocked when I won and I feel incredibly honored. What I forget is how different my field, conservation genetics, is than medical based science. To others, my poster may have been just as confusing as fibroblastomas and hepatic lipidosis is to me. I was never really sure how my work compared and I sometimes worried my work wouldn't come across as being as impressive as others. This win was the confidence booster I needed to help me along and I am now SO ready to keep this streak going! Next… Big funding.
There are a number of theories rolling around about the specifics of the illness (kidney failure, parasite, disease) and with no autopsy there is no way to know for sure which is true. But, one running theory amongst scholars is a secondary flare up of the inflammatory disease acute rheumatic fever – as in the disease that I have (greeeaaat). But this new bit of trivia doesn’t make me too worried and here’s why...
In 1791, Mozart fell ill experiencing symptoms of pallor, weight loss, and painful swelling of the hands and feet (sound familiar). Unfortunately, Mozart was alive during a time of ill-thought-out medical practices and they did a bloodletting treatment to cure him of his ailments (whatever they may have been). But, even more unfortunately, bloodletting while suffering from severe inflammation apparently causes hemorrhagic shock and, in the 1790’s, there’s no coming back from that. So, the treatment intended to save the most gifted musical genius in history accidentally killed him.
Fortunately for me, bloodletting isn't in regular practice anymore so I don’t have to worry about that kind of medical mishap! Whoops!
Just some elephant play time from August 2005... ENJOY!
Tomorrow I am attending the International Plant and Animal Genome Conference XXIII (fondly referred to as PAG by those attending). And it's not only exciting because it's my first big conference and I will be there with a bunch of wonderful people from the Genetics program at Texas A&M but it is in San Diego and I am presenting my first graduate level poster! People are going to get their first official look at my research then I get to go home to mom and dad when I'm done. It's like the 1997 Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair all over again but instead of "The Color Attraction of Mice" I will be presenting on African lions in "Genetics and Genomics: Powerful Tools for Wildlife Conservation" (Oh how times have changed). It's a brand new year and I am starting it off with a bang. This poster represents the next big stage of my graduate career and the beginning of what I know is going to be a successful year. I am finished with my classes so now I can really focus on my research, prelims and making sure I don't get sick while doing it. I can't wait!
I am a biologist and my life is crap!