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February 28, 2014

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On interesting times

One of my favourite authors wrote a novel that starts with the (originally chinese) proverb/curse: "may you live in interesting times".
Well, the last three months have been somewhat 'interesting' indeed. From deadlines to submit the R00 first year progress report, to deadlines to submit abstracts for meetings (Biophysics meeting in San Francisco), to deadlines to submit research proposals for two very talented undergraduate researchers Stephanie Myers and Paige Shapiro, to a rather silly rebuttal/letter to the editors 'death-match' in BRAIN that I got drawn into (see here, here, here and here), to the dreaded move of the ENTIRE division of basic cardiology into a new building - its been certainly VERY interesting and honestly rather challenging.
Let's start with the Biophysics Meeting in San Francisco, which turned out to be a rather nice relief from the looming move of the lab to the new building. I LOVE SF. Cannot deny it. And a conference in SF is a rather tempting occasion to leave the lab and present some of the work we've been doing. On top of going to SF, the conference itself turned out to be really interesting. I may in fact venture to say it was the most useful conference I have been to in years, with interesting and relevant posters and talks.
Coming back from SF I was immediately cast into the chaos of the move to the new Biomedical Research Facility (BRF) Medical Sciences Research Building (MSR). (I believe someone had the (late but wise) intuition to rename the building from the stomach crunching acronym BRF to a slightly better one - MSR.)
And chaos it was. NO AMOUNT of preparation can brace you for moving an entire division with 5-6 laboratories that have been doing cardiovascular science for the last 30(odd) years from one place to another. Amongst the more interesting oddities we discovered in the layers of dust and grime were fossilised shark teeth (??) and frogs (xenopus) from 1984 (????). Although that was slightly better than the formaldehyde preserved cow embryo in a jar in Switzerland 'back in the days' when I was at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.
Anyways. The move was REALLY interesting. I tried to mend impending ruptures emotional outbreaks over space with a spontaneously organised pizza and beer moving happy hour. Maybe to no or little avail, but I hope that things smooth out over time…
Here are some impressions of the 'insanity'. It's not quite over yet, but things hopefully return to normal very soon (including this website, which was offline for about a week due to a change in IP addresses)...

Pictures of the move and the pizza/beer happy hour.

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