Who are you, what are you doing here and why do you keep looking at me!!??!

Jul 24 2008 Published by under Blogging

Ed Yong recently asked his readers to tell him a little about themselves and what they enjoy about his blog, Not Exactly Rocket Science. The comments got really interesting to read. Since typical comment-to-lurker ratios bandied about run in the very-small-minority ranges, 5-10%, bloggers do not really have a good feel for who their readers are and why the regulars keep coming back.
This is by way of partially excusing my completely self-indulgent and self-aggrandizing behavior- blame it on someone else! (I'm not capping on Ed here, he's an actual, you know, professional science writer with some serious chops. In his case this is obligatory market research for his professional work.) Anyhow, consider this one of those de-lurker posts from YHN.
I'll treat Ed's post as if it were a meme*. Among other things, that lets me blatently steal his framing of the question.

Tell me about you. Who are you? Do you have a background in science? If so, what draws you here as opposed to meatier, more academic fare? And if not, what brought you here and why have you stayed? Let loose with those comments.

Have at it my friends.
*If you blog, consider yourself tagged! [Update: Similar threads from ScienceWomen, Coturnix and drdrA.]

87 responses so far

  • Grad Girl says:

    I'm a fourth year graduate student in a big, NIH-funded, grant-hogging lab. I think I read your blog regularly because my (frequently absent) PI's ability to give advice on career development is confined to lessons in how to be exactly like him (most others being deemed Failed Scientists). We are a fairly isolated group, so blogs constitute my primary source of much-needed outside perspective.

  • Mary says:

    Mid-career entrepreneur in biotech, PhD in molecular biology. As part of a small and mostly virtual company, I look to science blogs as sort of a virtual water-cooler. Conversation about what's interesting in research topics, what's up with funding, looking for trends and needs.
    I can get hard science from the journals, conferences, etc. But I do like the kind of virtual journal club of researchblogging.org. It also broadens my view. For my own purposes I stay mostly in my fields, but I like to read some of the other things slightly more afield that bloggers present.
    The virtual company thing is great for our carbon footprints, but you have to seek out interaction electronically.

  • scicurious says:

    Grad Girl, I feel your pain. Grad student in Physiology and Pharmacology, in a big NIH-funded lab. We aren't allowed to proceed to PhD candidacy unless we are independantly NIH funded.
    I read your blog also for advice on career development, and though I think my advisor might be supportive of a life outside of NIH-funded academia, the department (and school) as a whole is not. It's nice to know there are people out there who are encouraging.

  • VWXYNot? says:

    Academic background (PhD and one postdoc), some industry experience, now back in academia as a grant writer, among other tasks. Here mostly for the advice on grant submissions - I'm based in Canada but am working on my first NIH grant (or at least should be) as we speak!

  • sara says:

    I'm a couple of years out of undergrad, applying to graduate programs this year. I read your blog to better understand what kind of career I'm getting myself into.
    My undergrad institution has a high percentage of students who go on to earn PhDs. At the biology department talk about going to grad school, the take home message was "Don't". The result is that I have been reading everything I can to see what this career path entails.

  • Another grad girl says:

    I'm a fifth year grad student in microbiology preparing to defend my thesis (next week) and move on to a postdoc, after which I hope to get a tenure-track position at a big research university. So even though I want the "typical" science career, I need advice on how to get there, and my PI is too busy/absent to give me the advice I want.
    I was first referred to this blog by a fellow grad student who finds the ranting amusing and interesting, I had been reading aetiology on science blogs for a while. But I really like the very specific advice on careers, grants etc., and I like the blogroll as it points me to other people who write about subjects I'm interested in, especially the experience of women in science. So, thanks for the time you put into this drugmonkey (and physioprof), from my point of view it's really helpful to the next generation of scientists (as well as the current ones).

  • DrugMonkey says:

    GradGirl @#1: We are a fairly isolated group, so blogs constitute my primary source of much-needed outside perspective
    In those cases where your cultural reference points are entirely from one lab, or from 2-3 closely collaborating insular labs, heck yes you need to seek outside perspective. Ideally from other labs at the university but also from meeting contacts. Much as I like what blogs can do, it is a very pale shadow of what you need to get from personal interactions within your subfield. So, keep reading blogs but do try to seek advice external to your immediate lab IRL as well.
    scicurious @#3: Grad student in Physiology and Pharmacology, in a big NIH-funded lab. We aren't allowed to proceed to PhD candidacy unless we are independantly NIH funded.
    Wow. Okay, that bothers me. You are absolutely required to get an NRSA in order to advance to candidacy?? By the department or by your committee or by your PI? Especially in this current environment this is just sooo wrong. How about other non-NIH fellowships, do they count?
    the department (and school) as a whole is not.
    I don't know what lab you are in but I suspect I am familiar with the peeps in your department. It may be the case that you would benefit from chatting up some of the younger faculty? Including some of those younger faculty that are, or have been, working up into the system via the less-than appointments?

  • PhysioProf says:

    We aren't allowed to proceed to PhD candidacy unless we are independantly NIH funded.


  • Ace says:

    I did my PhD in the US and I'm finishing my EU-funded postdoc in Europe. I have a TT faculty position in the US lined up for the following Fall while I stay in Europe an extra year as a research scientist.
    Like other readers noted, I find this blog very useful as I am trying to fill in gaps in my career development. My PhD supervisor was brilliant, generous, and a great person, but did not really "train" me for a science career. My postdoc mentors did train and support me in many respects, but this is in Europe and I'll start a job in the US so I am trying to tool up, formally and informally for the life of a NIH/NSF-fundseeking junior TT prof in the US...
    I read blogs for several interconnected reasons: I am a nerd and an "information sponge" in general. I have always wanted to be a scientist. I do feel like I am absorbing a lot by immersing myself in blog discourse... (I don't blog myself -mainly because I think I can get too engrossed in it and I want to keep my ego in check; but also possibly because I am too lazy)
    More specifically, about this blog, I find the non-sugar-coated, realistic but still enthusiastic and positive feel re: junior scientists to be the main attraction. My research topic is not too far away so I can relate to a large portion of the posts. I also like your "voices". PhysioProf has the more erm.. distinctive voice perhaps. Like many others, I find PhysioProf funny - but I think the particular combination of DM and PP voices is one of the best parts of this blog.
    Life in academia is generally hard, competitive, and often times "unfair". On top of it all, I am female, minority AND a foreigner. I have experienced discrimination and difficulties (incl. sexual harassment) but I have also had amazing mentors and supporters and I do trust that science is the right career path for me and things work themselves out. I refuse to be held back and be discouraged by difficulties. I want to succeed - which means understanding the system, working with it within bounds of my personal integrity and hopefully be part of changing it for the better. OK maybe this sounds too dramatic/emotional. But that's what I really believe in... I like this blog's no-nonsense approach. It fits with my attitude.
    My favourite science blog is Female Science Professor.
    Cheers, Ace.

  • pinus says:

    4th year postdoc, just got a TT position at medical school. starting in the near future. I choose not reveal my 'area of interest' but based on some of the posts you guys make, I have similar interests. Any tips for starting out a lab are greatly appreciated.

  • yolio says:

    I am a post-doc in a biological science with serious intentions of staying on in science. I came across your blog when you guest posted for Feministe, and added you to my reader. I am interested in gender and science. I am particularly interested in hearing candid accounts of other people's experiences with science and gender.

  • Mike says:

    I'm the only person on the Internet who thinks drugs should not be legalized.
    I enjoy reading your blog, especially when you push the buttons of the True Believers in legalization.

  • Mad Hatter says:

    I'm a non-tenure track faculty member in a biosciences department. I've been fortunate enough to have had good mentors and lots of colleagues with whom to discuss science and career issues. So I come here primarily for a different perspective and, of course, the entertainment. PP's opinions tend to be fairly similar to those of people I trained and work with, so DM provides the different perspective, and PP provides the entertainment! šŸ˜‰

  • Johnny Chimpo says:

    I'm a third year postdoc starting a tenure-track job at a research lab next month. I mostly read for the career and grantsmanship advice.

  • Mick says:

    I'm an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis studying neurobiology and physiology. I started to get interested in this website after I took a neurobiology of addictive drugs class, and I've been visiting this site regularly since then. Also, I like Drug Monkey's witty and candid remarks; this blog is a lot more fun to read than other blogs--whose posts are sometimes too pompous, in my opinion.

  • scicurious says:

    Easy, guys. I misspoke (typed). It's not quite as bad as all that. Our thesis proposals have to be submitted in the form of an NRSA, and passed by a review committee. Then we are highly encouraged to submit them. So you don't have to HAVE an NRSA for candidacy, you have to have passed the qualifying exam and then submit your proposal in the form of an NRSA. It doesn't have to be submitted to NIH, some people have funding from other places (esp if they aren't citizens or permanent residents), and there are training grants that furnish those who don't yet have an NRSA. But the department will not pay for us past second year, and the PIs, of course, vastly prefer that we have our own grant.
    So it's not technically REQUIRED, but I haven't seen a single PhD graduate from my department without one. And it's really pretty good training for learning the funding process.
    And DrugMonkey: I have a younger advisor, which is why I think they might be a little more open, and some of the people in the department are supportive. But most don't seem to be. After all, their reputation is enhanced when we become big bad NIH-gods, not if we become educators (we are not encouraged to teach), writers, or anything else. I think industry is ok (we're pretty closely tied in with translational research and several small companies).

  • Becca says:

    I'm a forth year grad student in an academic medical center.
    I come here for many reasons:
    1) entertainment
    2) to pick up neat career tidbits
    3) to leave comments about how to turn Academic Science into a Fucking Carebear Teaparty
    4) so I can look Smart when my Dean of Grad Students asks my opinion about something, and I have already thought about it(True story- it happened with the "hippocratic oath for grad students" thing)
    5) to see what other bloggers are saying (you have an awesome blogroll).

  • DSKS says:

    British postdoc (4th yr) working in the US on Ca2+ and ion channels.
    I like the fact that this blog contains more original and issue focused material than many of the other science blogs out there, which is appealing in and of itself. Much of the competition often seems to be repeating the latest pop science news or moaning about how awful it is to be a scientist these days.
    I find the info on the grant process to be particularly informative and obviously relevant to my current career stage.

  • juniorprof says:

    I'm a sponge, just sponging.

  • 1st year postdoc, learning how to be a grown-up Scientiste. With you two as mentors, how can I go wr---hmmm....

  • drdrA says:

    I am t-t junior faculty in a medical school. I have learned most of what I know about academic science careerism by watching others struggle and, sometimes fail. My MO when I don't know how to do something, is to read everything I can find about it- then distill all the knowledge and advice into something I can use to go forward. Reading blogs like yours is part of that process.
    Also- mentoring of junior faculty at the department level in my experience is not very good... and I sometimes need to seek out help elsewhere from people who know the current environment (funding etc.)- you all have been very generous with advice for many practical issues for navigating things we do daily but aren't formally trained for (rejected papers, etc.)
    Plus, you are just darn funny- and sometimes struggling junior faculty really could use a laugh.

  • Samia says:

    Senior biochem major, grad school hopeful with dreams of one-day-maybe-professorship. I read this blog because I secretly have a secret crush on Physioprof (secretly). I also appreciate the advice regarding careers in science, as it's helped me refine my goals a little and more critically consider my options. But all of that is *entirely* secondary. šŸ˜‰

  • PhysioProf says:

    Alright, here is the most important question: Who is funnier, me or DM?

  • juniorprof says:

    Alright, here is the most important question: Who is funnier, me or DM?
    DM. No seriously, DM is funnier.

  • leigh says:

    beginning my 5th year of grad school at big snooty and fairly notorious type university that has successfully deterred me from staying in academia.
    looking for other perspectives on the world of science, other disciplines (i do pharmacology), and topics i haven't really thought about since my head is mostly in my own field most of the time.
    the attitudes of the contributors amuse me. DM reminds me of a prof i had in college.

  • PhysioProf says:

    DM. No seriously, DM is funnier.

    Alright, I'm done with you motherfucker. Your ass is grass!

  • damngoodtechnician says:

    I'm a TurboTech who made the jump from academia to MassivePharma about four years ago. I wish I could go back (for my current salary, of course), since most of the scientists I work with have zero scientific curiosity and are dreadfully lazy. I came upon this blog because I am a colossal dork who reads anything & everything science related; I stay because it's a remarkably fun place to be, and I get to I pass along advice to my post-doc husband, whose lab I hope to run with an iron fist someday when he's a TT faculty (fingers crossed).

  • ecogeofemme says:

    5th year grad student in a field totally unrelated to anything NIH. I read the posts on general careerism and skip the ones about MDMA and really NIH-specific topics. While not so good for networking, blogs are excellent for gaining perscpective outside of one's lab because they are so much more candid than anyone (well, most people) would be in real life. I like reading blogs outside my field because they really broaden my view, showing me the totally different ways that people handle similar problems in different environments. Plus I haven't found too many other bloggers in my field.

  • Pete Guither says:

    Drug policy reform blogger and speaker. Day job in academia. Follow DrugMonkey (along with a couple hundred others) through a newsreader and stop by when there are drug policy-related posts from which I can learn or to which I should object.

  • drdrA says:

    'Alright, here is the most important question: Who is funnier, me or DM?'
    Got a little competitive streak?
    Oh PP- I could never choose between you and DM. You each have a unique brand of humor... and with you I have the added benefit of picking up some choice new vocabulary words now and again.
    Ever the diplomat.

  • microfool says:

    Microbiology PhD, no post-doc, now working for the gubberment. Stopped blogging out of fear for job, but still addicted to commenting. Idiotically forwarded your april 1 post to 2 dozen other govt-types. Dang! Anyways, I stick around for the PI perspectives.

  • Arlenna says:

    Imminent PI-hood is upon me and sometimes it freaks me out. I read here because you guys remind me of my wonderful, crazy postdoc mentor (mostly PhysioProf, but kind of a hybrid of the both of you, sometimes to the point where if I thought he'd ever write a blog maybe I'd think you WERE him).

  • Stephanie Z says:

    I have a BA in psychology, but I do math for a living and write fiction on the side. Despite DM's manners where I'm concerned, I show up for the research on drug addiction. I like to keep up, since I picked up quite a bit dating a grad student in the field for a couple years. In fact, their work is so close that once he got snarky, I had to check whether DM was my ex.
    I read the professional stuff because a good writer never passes up a glimpse behind the curtain, and--before PP can crack wise on the subject--neither do I.

  • arby says:

    Seriously, am I the only high school dropout who reads this shit? rb

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Wow, thanks for playing everyone.
    scicurious- glad to hear it wasn't as bad as all that. I'm a bit removed from the seemingly yearly debates grad programs go through about what is the best qualification hazing exam but I do like the fellowship-writing one okay.
    becca so I can look Smart when my Dean of Grad Students asks my opinion about something, and I have already thought about it(True story- it happened with the "hippocratic oath for grad students" thing)
    geez I hope you go easier on the Dean than you do on Greggie, PP and I!
    doubledoc- read everything I can find about it- then distill all the knowledge and advice into something I can use to go forward.
    tru dat! (well, I mean you can take my opinion as gospel but otherwise....)
    Samia- I read this blog because I secretly have a secret crush on Physioprof (secretly).
    I hear PhysioWife has a mean left hook. not sayin' nuttin. just keep your elbows in knowatimsayin?
    my main muppethugger Alright, here is the most important question: Who is funnier, me or DM?
    Let's get one thing straight. I have no claims to being funny. And you my friend are more in the line of ....oh, I dunno, fucking hilarious. something like that.
    microfool Idiotically forwarded your april 1 post to 2 dozen other govt-types
    HOLY CRAP! We've found Patient Zero, ding, ding, ding! My hat is off, my friend. You pwned the NIH!! Did the guys with the sunglasses and bad haircuts stop by for a chat?????

  • BP says:

    I'm a recently tenured biophysicist, in a physics department, and with affiliations to a couple biomedical departments, who appreciates the posts on the politics and culture of biomedical research.

  • kc says:

    Going to be a junior in the fall. I'm technically a biochem major but microbiology-ish stuff is more my thing. My plan WAS to do research in academia, but I've realized that 1) I really need a plan B. And C. And D. 2) I may not be really cut out for it. So grad school is still the plan but... we'll see about that.
    I'm here because guys amuse me, and the career related stuff is nice, as is stuff on the NIH. I work in a young lab trying to get our first real funding and... it's a bit tense. Exciting... but tense.
    I found this blog because I'm a blog addict. Can't manage to keep up one of my own, but blogs give me an opportunity to get different perspectives, as well as something to do when I'm avoiding homework or waiting for a gel to run or something. Science blogs are great for an additional reason: they remind me that yes, I do love this science crap. I was the all-around-good-student in high school, and I kind of just stumbled into my major. Sometimes I doubt that I'm in the right place (enough with the goddamn lecture halls and exams, I want my small classes with discussions and papers back!), but then I remember that I read and enjoy a ridiculous number of science blogs daily, and I relax a bit. Being in school is not the same as being in science, and there is a world beyond exams and memorization. I'm just not quite there yet.

  • BP says:

    I also really wish you had been around when I was a post-doc.
    And Drugmonkey is far funnier.

  • JC says:

    Going into my 3rd year of postdoc'ing in Biology - got a prestigious wad of money so TPTB are making me a Res Asst Prof effective in 3 weeks and I'll be teaching a class of women about my field. I hover between academia and govt work (essentially 2 full time jobs and 2 full time job salaries). As a woman, I read blogs to 1) see that I'm not alone in gender issues and look for advice given about navigating constant landmines in academia and 2) my inner sarcastic witch laughs like hell at the way DM and PP go off on stuff. You both rock.

  • PhysioProf says:

    And Drugmonkey is far funnier.

    Fuck you, asshole.

  • fred says:

    JC said ... I hover between academia and govt work (essentially 2 full time jobs and 2 full time job salaries). Is this possible in academia, to have two jobs with two salaries?

  • oaksterdam says:

    34) arby:
    Nope. There's at least 2 of us.

  • Steve says:

    Lab tech taking some time off between undergrad and grad to get my act together. I saw way too many grad students at my undergrad U come in with absolutely no idea of what lab work is like and, three years later, figure out they hate it. Fuck that, I wanted to know what I was getting into and this blog is certainly helping me in that regard.

  • llewelly says:

    This is not really about the topic but instead about your poll. I answered that DrugMonkey & PhysioProf are actually Statler and Waldorf. But another option, 'married to each other' clearly overlaps with 'Statler and Waldorf' . I am wondering how you plan to account for this in your data analysis. In fact I think this is a serious defect in your poll and you may need to formulate a new poll and gather new data.

  • Venkat says:

    I'm a chem.engr-turned-biophysicist in the 5th yr of grad school. Oddly enough, I hope to do 2 post-docs - one in bioPHYSICS followed by another in BIOphysics, mainly to postpone real world. I like DM's and PP's (sometimes interestingly opposite) views on all things academic. I particularly like PP's reaction to wackaloonery shit.

  • acmegirl says:

    I'm a graduate student in an interdisciplinary program at an Ivy League school. I'm trying to learn how to be a scientist in the fullest sense of the word, so I really appreciate the career advice and the commentary on how science actually works. I'm also a woman of color, and so, I really enjoy any opportunity to discuss the issues that I'm facing now and will face in the future.
    And I like the creative use of profanity.

  • biker c says:

    Going into my second year of an MA in Linguistics. I just read whatever scienceblog entries seem interesting when I have a large enough chunk of free time.

  • I'm going into my last year as undergraduate studying neurobiology and minoring in medical ethics and policy with aspirations of earning an MD-PhD. I'm here because I need humor and wit in my life. Reading this blog makes me feel less guilty that I'm procrastinating because it's a science blog. I enjoy how DM and PP both piss people off; it gives me hope that one day I can do that when I'm a tenure.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    llewelly @#44 I am wondering how you plan to account for this in your data analysis. In fact I think this is a serious defect in your poll and you may need to formulate a new poll and gather new data.
    I think you may have this blog confused with Cog Daily.

  • essjay says:

    I'm a first year postdoc that has moved from Australia to a non-english speaking European country. I check in with DrugMonkey because I enjoy the topics you cover and I like your style. Plus many of the regular commenters here bring an interesting perspective to the discussion (DuWayne and Treefish spring to mind), which you guys promote by staying involved in the thread. Also I'm a sucker for random displays of excessive cursing so a lot of boxes are getting ticked here.

  • waterrocks says:

    I've just left high school here in the UK (hopefully going to be studying languages at uni) and I like Scienceblogs in general because they keep me in touch with science, which I miss since having defected to the arts for studying purposes. I dunno whether I count as a regular reader of DrugMonkey in particular (I definitely don't read every post here), but I'm often amused and enlightened by those I do read. Thanks!

  • Dunc says:

    Me, I'm just here killing time whilst pretending to work. Physics (well, optoelectronics / laser engineering) student dropout (many years ago), now working as a programmer, with an "amateur" interest in drug law reform. And just about everything else, actually... I am a dilettante, and proud of it. šŸ˜‰

  • TreeFish says:

    I'm a senior post doc in neuroscience, have a K99/R00, and am therefore on the job market for a cushy tt-position next fall. Are you hiring?!
    I found DM's old site on wordpress after trying to read the tea leaves of a summary statement with the help of writedit. There were these two people at writedit who schizophrenically posted sage wisdom and exasperated expletive-coated comments: DM and PP.
    I was intrigued by their balance of insight, insider knowledge, and willingness to dispense an unbelievable amount of (spot on) advice. Plus, they had sailor's mouths like me! Eatbitefucksuckgobblenibblechew...(RIP Carlin).
    Over the past year or so, I've come to the conclusion that PP and DM are my mentors; the one's I work with are only their avatars!

  • If you blog, consider yourself tagged.
    Do you realize how much work you have just created for the entire world???
    I hope you're pleased with yourself!

  • BugDoc says:

    I am an NIH-funded t-t junior faculty at a large medical school. I read your blog because (A) you guys rock and (B) you get down and dirty with reality that young scientists need to be successful. I am not only a faithful groupie, I have sent many a questing student or postdoc in your direction.
    Feel the love?

  • pinus says:

    I too have a K99...have you transferred to the R part yet? I am curious as to how the process goes, as it seems that nobody I have spoken too has actually gone from K99 to R00. I know that some folks at the NIH are pissy about people starting TT positions too soon after the K99 gets awarded, but other than that....it is a mystery.

  • James Stein says:

    Senior Biology major, Chem/Lit double-minor (strongly considering going out of my way to grab a minor in Astronomy before I graduate), and all around information addict. I plan on going into dental school upon graduation, for a DDS/MPH dual program; it is my hope to one day be able to hold down a program of research and private clinical work both at the same time - at least so that I can retire into teaching classes at a Uni. (I can think of no better way to retire than to teach college students a few times a week).
    I keep up on your blog and most every single other one on SciBlogs via RSS. I can't not; with the exception of a tiny handful, every Scibling produces gems (some more frequently, some less, but still shiny).

  • River Tam says:

    I'm a TT assistant professor in ecology at a TierII state university. So what am I doing so far from my field by hanging out here? Initially came because I saw a PhysioProf post over at FemaleScienceProfessor and thought "who IS this person?". I stay because there is no senior leadership in my department to remind me what I need to do to be successful at a national level. While you're not in my field, the advice translates (with slight modifications), so I come to keep reminding myself not to be lulled into complacency by my surroundings. That and the interplay between the DM and PP personas really works nicely. Who's funnier? Like trying to say which is better: an awesome cheeseburger or a fine steak, it depends on your mood!

  • Odyssey says:

    I'm a tenured assoc. prof. in a college of medicine biochemistry department at a large state university. I do molecular biophysics. I stumbled onto this blog via writedit. I keep coming back because DM and PP are amusing and dispense advice that's useful even for someone at my career stage.

  • Neuro Geek says:

    I'm just a lurker. šŸ˜‰
    I'm a newly tenured professor who does basic (not biomedical) neurophysiology research. I just got my first R01 this year. w00t!

  • NeuroStudent says:

    I'm a 5th year grad student in neurobiology (soon to be defending...keeping fingers crossed that some random shit doesn't crop up and fuck me over, one more week of experiments left!). I'm working on lining up my first postdoc position and hopefully I'll do one or two postdocs and then eventually become a tt faculty somewhere (I wanna be a PI when I grow up!).
    I'm not sure how I started reading DM & PP..I think I may have linked over from Action Potential (Nature Neuroscience's blog), but I may have also linked over from YFS's blog that I found when I was highly disgruntled in lab this past spring...I've since then started regularly reading over 30 sciency blogs a day (and I find a new one to read every other week..damn).
    I find the info valuable as my mentor thinks that grad students should be "protected" from all of the other crap and just focus on the science, which is nice and all, and I tend to lean more in that direction than those that think we need to take business classes as part of our PhD, but I'm also realistic and want to be able to do this as my career at some point.

  • /
    I'm only here because of DM's sense of humor (this blog is funny despite PP). Seriously though, I'm here because this blog is so fuckin' bad it is like a train-wreck---you can't take your eyes off it. I might go so far as to say I find this blog to be shallow and pedantic.
    Also, I'm part of the new SuperWeeder program by ScienceBorgTM---I monitor the SuperReader feed and when I find mediocre articles nominated to it I am required to take it the fuck down. And if ya want to keep up with the cutting edge of mediocre, there's no better place to be than here, my friends.
    Despite all this, the real reason I visit regularly is that PP once threatened to live-blog my castration if I didn't.
    And BTW, I am scientist by training, and trained well enough to know that I should leave it the fuck alone.
    So yeah....thats my story.

  • kristin says:

    I am non-tenure track faculty focused solely on bench work in biology-genetics-genome areas. I mentor grad and undergrad students and think I have the ideal job for a working scientist-mom: lots of academic freedom/no teaching/no tenure stress.
    I come back for grant writing-professional advice, and general entertainment.

  • TentativeTech says:

    I've been working as a technician since my graduation from college five years ago. I'm planning to apply to graduate school this fall, and I enjoy reading DM & PP because they've helped me gain some much-needed perspective as to why I should (or likely shouldn't) continue this initiative.

  • TreeFish says:

    According the a seminar on the the K99/R00 mechanism, given by Stephen Korn and Joan Schwartz, the R00 transition should be 'turn key'. Steve said that the funding Institute will review the start-up package, confirm that it is not a low-ball because you have incoming funding/support, and then give you your $249k direct costs. See the whole thing at:
    I don't know anyone personally who has made the transition, but there are quite a few peeps who have done so. Go to CRISP and search %4R00% and see who..whom...whatever.
    Good luck and kick ass and LEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Arlenna says:

    Damn, this blog's readership must represent a significant proportion of K99 holders (3 and counting) given the proportion of K99 grantees to the general postdoc population... and hot damn I hope the $249K is DIRECT costs, I had made an assumption it was the total for both... I better go back and read that stuff.
    pinus, I talked to a recent R00 transitionista over email, who transitioned "early," and she had no problems. They worked it out. Mine is also getting worked out. So just go for it and do what you need to do--don't miss out on opportunities because of it, that would be counter to the goals of the grant.

  • pinus says:

    oh, I am not worried. I just like to know things.
    I thought the 249K was total as well...249 direct would be very nice....

  • TreeFish says:

    My bad. I mis-typed...it's total.
    It's not chopped liver, but it's little beyond salary support. You get ~167k and the institution gets ~83k. It's a good way to get a Dept to like you, though, since you're coming in with 83k F&A costs.
    Like I was told: by the time your salary + fringe is paid, you MIGHT be able to pay a tech (+ fringe) for your lab. So you'll still need a cushy start-up package to (continue to) dominate.

  • Jim says:

    an old person ("worked" in labs since '70), usually lurking over at Orics blog and wanted to see why you wanted to know why folks were looking at you.

  • Becca says:

    geez I hope you go easier on the Dean than you do on Greggie, PP and I!
    Well, I try to.
    The Dean is a long-suffering fellow.
    That said, I think I'm harder on Greggie than you and PP, and no harder on PP than he is on anyone else.
    Also, this is as good a thread as any to comment on the post... where's the "DM and PP are actually the same person" option? I know there are folks that want to vote for that!

  • pinus says:

    it is odd that there are so many K99 holders here.
    Maybe PP and DM are sounding some sort of subconscious message for us to find them? (or I made my way here from medicalwrit edit also)

  • Bill says:

    I'm an American postdoc at a major University/Medical School. I have no interest in being a PI, but I find this blog to be very interesting and entertaining. I found this blog while reading YFS, specifically her post on "PI's shitting on postdocs" or some such.

  • juniorprof says:

    where's the "DM and PP are actually the same person" option? I know there are folks that want to vote for that!
    I used to think that too but now I am convinced that they are separated-at-birth twins.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    it is odd that there are so many K99 holders here.
    I find it odd that I know 4 of 'em, personally. I'm still waiting to see how some of this shakes out with respect to the transition point but it will eventually be something interesting to discuss..

  • CC says:

    it is odd that there are so many K99 holders here.
    I'd been surprised by that before, both here and at other blogs with a similar focus. I guess it's not that unlikely that postdocs who 1) are willing to stop running gels and take a larger view of science and 2) are interested in career strategy are also disproportionately likely to hold K99s.

  • Interrobang says:

    I just wanted to know who all those other people were who were looking at you, and if I could get incriminating pictures.
    I am a technical writer at a tiny software company, holder of a Master's degree in rhetoric from Canada's answer to MIT, and a sometimes pro-am historian, educational materials author, and public policy wonk. Reading about drugs and drug policy is just a hobby for me. I also like reading about biology (it's icky all the way down) and medicine (I'm the kind of person who cruises PubMed for fun). I'm currently documenting an FTP application and writing a book on streetcars.
    Statistically speaking, that puts me seriously off the norm for the commenters so far. šŸ™‚

  • Mike_F says:

    I am a P.I. at a research institute in a small country on the other side of the planet. I found Scienceblogs after PZ Myers discussed one of our review papers in one of his posts, looked at a few of the blogs here, and bookmarked DrugMonkey rather than Pharyngula since I find your topics more interesting than the atheist crusade.

  • Soft Heathen says:

    I am a retired Ph.D. psychologist with 35 years of mental health research, statistical analysis and strategic planning for a large governmental agency. After analyzing disorganized mental health events for so many years, I was naturally drawn to hyper-organized mental health events.

  • TreeFish says:

    >>After analyzing disorganized mental health events for so many years, I was naturally drawn to hyper-organized mental health events.

  • hah says:

    I'm a 2nd yr postdoc in biomedical science.
    PP is funnier, DM is more level-headed sounding.

  • I'm a "science enthusiast" who works for Research!America, an advocacy alliance whose mission is to "make research to improve health a higher national priority." Basically we advocate for more funding for NIH and other federal research agencies. I have just been given the green light to get more active in the blogosphere, and I'm starting by lurking and reading the fascinating conversations. Many are above my head (my education tapped out at a master's in journalism, although I am married to a post-doc in applied math), but I will add to the conversation when Research!America's public opinion poll data or other initiatives apply. Thanks for the chance to introduce myself!

  • Nat Blair says:

    I'm an ever aging neurobiology, currently still a post doc, who comes for the down and dirty career talk. I've been somewhat sheltered by some combination of my advisors and my own narrowminded science focus and children-having distraction.
    Plus I like the science related conversation that blogs allow. Keeps things interesting.

  • Beth says:

    I have just started my PhD in neurophysiology, doing hospital-based research. My previous job was in a different field of physiology, but still working in a hospital, interfacing between doctors and research laboratories, so I can relate to many of the things mentioned around here. I find your blog insightful and I love the combination of fiery and informative posts!

  • amanda says:

    I'm late to the party, but I've been away. I'm a fourth year grad student in biochemistry. I read to get career advice, another perspective, and to read about something other than Research Focus. Plus, at times, you make me laugh out loud... which I think we all need sometimes.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    ScienceWomen are doing a similar thread, head on over

  • I'm a university tech-support geek and was originally attracted to your blog by the name. Stayed for the tasty posts on research ethics and on neurology, at least the ones I understand.

  • msvcp100.dll says:

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