So when do you graduate?

Julia. Cancer Biology PhD candidate, US - finishing up my last year. About | Nav | FAQ Follows back @jncera. Join the Gradblr Support Group discord server!

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cancerbiophd·a day agoLink
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cancerbiophd·2 days agoText



I hate the framing of “believe in science.”

Science isn’t a religion. It doesn’t require your faith. Faith in particular modes of science is detrimental to scientific advancement.

Be really wary of people who frame science as if it were a religion or as if it required belief or faith.

yes, and

Science isn’t a THING, it’s a PROCESS.

it’s a process that always zigzags around a lot before it gets to a Solid Conclusion on the rare occasions such things actually exist.

it’s a process that’s full of “we think it’s x, and we’re 95% sure it’s between y and z, but all of that might change when we get new data.”

it’s a process that occasionally gets upended when it turns out the answer isn’t x or y or z but actually it’s cucumber.

it’s a process that is driven by arguments. usually those arguments happen where nobody’s watching, but they’re always happening.

the fastest way to fuck up the process is to decide what the result should be before you start the experiment. to decide that a fact “must be true” if it hasn’t been tested, and tested again, and maybe you should check one more time to make sure.

science thrives on disagreement, because science is trying to learn about the world around us, and that world is messy and chaotic and uncertain and constantly changing.

don’t “believe science”

think like a scientist:

acknowledge uncertainty

respect expertise (but don’t worship it)

trust, but verify

also science is a process made by us humans, and we can sure as hell be biased, whether consciously or not. for example, radium companies used to fund “scientific” studies to “prove” that radium was safe (so they could stay in business), and we all know now how false that is. 

you know that quote by neil degrasse tyson where he says “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it”

well i absolutely hate it because no, nature is true no matter what. science is just how we’re trying to understand nature, and we can absolutely sometimes get things wrong. 

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cancerbiophd·2 days agoText


Fees for publishing and reviews is still an unsolved problem in academia.

Scientists need to publish their results. After submission, 2-3 experts in the field are asked to do revisions on that article. For no wage. When the article gets accepted for publication, the authors usually have to pay for the article to be printed. And finally after the journal publishes the article, then the readers have to pay for reading it.

So the publishing company gets the money twice⁠—from the author and from the reader. And the expert reviews are not paid.

And if an author wants everybody to have the access to their work, they need to pay way bigger fee for an open access. There are initiatives for more open science but there’s still a long journey to get there.

I always send my papers to those who ask for them. I want my work to be read, right!?


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cancerbiophd·2 days agoAnswer

Do you have any tips or words of encouragement for someone just entering the medical field of study with the desire to get a PHD and MD? I switched majors from architecture and feel a little late to the game in discovering my passion for the medical sciences. I find your blog very inspiring and would love to have your more experienced take on my situation Many Thanks❣️

Hello there Kordelia!

First I just want to say how proud I am of you making the difficult decision to switch majors from such a different field in order to pursue your passion. I’m sure it was a hard journey at times, and I admire you so much for fiercely staring down those obstacles! 

I don’t have personal experience with MD/PhD dual programs, or with the MD side of things, but I hope I can help with at least the PhD side, and just grad school in general. To further the disclaimer, I only have experience with PhD programs in biology/life sciences in the US. if your program is in another country, some of my advice may not be applicable (but I hope a lot of it is!) 

Here are some of my favorite advice posts (some from other people) that I hope will help:

How to think like a biologist

Things no one tells you (at least no one told me) about grad school in the life sciences

Advice on grad school from a Reddit post (this one can apply to almost all grad programs)

How to deal with imposter syndrome

How I deal with feeling burnt-out

7 pieces of advice for your 1st year in grad school

How I stay organized in grad school

How to come up with a research project: here and here, and more specific to a PhD thesis project, here

How I handle constructive criticism (ie. not taking it personally)

How I deal with the pressures of grad school

I also have a collection of advice posts for med school (from other blogs) here that I think will be worth checking out

I hope these help! If you have any more questions, you know where to find me! My private chat is also always open. 

I wish you the best of luck, and an amazing grad school adventure. 

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cancerbiophd·3 days agoAnswer

this is probably a dumb question, but are there any health risks that come from working with cancer cells? or would the cells not be able to grow because you’re human and they’re mouse cells?

hi! not a dumb question at all! 

there is a small risk associated with working with cancer cells, especially since they’re human origin. while most people’s immune systems would be able to recognize those cells as not our own (and thus attack them and prevent them from setting up shop), there’s a much higher risk that may not happen in immunocompromised individuals. (in fact, scientists can take advantage of this by using immunocompromised mice to study human cancers with). 

so everyone (even those with healthy immune systems) must take precautions when working with cancer cells, such as wearing PPE and using a tissue culture hood (which also prevents contaminants like our own cells and bacteria from getting into the flasks with the cancer cells). the use of mouse cancer cells offers a lower risk of infection for humans, but it’s still not a chance anyone should take. 

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cancerbiophd·3 days agoPhoto




05.29.20 // i literally tore a hole in my glove from opening so many tubes at once

but for real tho

Wait wait wait…who supplies the microcentrifuge tubes? How are they si pretty and colorful? I want the teal ones. Please lol

they’re from VWR! i think these are the ones we get (gotta scroll down to “Assorted” to get the multi-color pack). 

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cancerbiophd·3 days agoText




99% of doing lab work is just a voice in my head going “it’s ok. it’s ok. take your time. you’re ok. just breathe. take it slow, one tube at a time. there you go.” 

the remaining 1% is the voice yelling “SHIT! shit shit shit shit” 

Absolutely. That remaining 1% of the time I’m sitting there trying to remember the muscle movement I just did to discern if I added the thing to the well.

Shout-out to all the fallen mastermixes.

omfg that’s so true. i can practically hear the sound of computer fans turning on as my brain tries desperately to remember “wait, what well am i on again???” 

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cancerbiophd·3 days agoText


99% of doing lab work is just a voice in my head going “it’s ok. it’s ok. take your time. you’re ok. just breathe. take it slow, one tube at a time. there you go.” 

the remaining 1% is the voice yelling “SHIT! shit shit shit shit” 

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cancerbiophd·3 days agoPhoto




The best hashtag evah

The firmer you grasp the fish, the more complete your understanding of sea life will become. Underwater labcoat completely necessary for this step, unlike breathing apparatuses like a snorkel or a regulator. Real marine biologists grow gills upon getting their diploma.

The true Entomologist must wear a lab coat, safety goggles and a mask to examine his dangerous specimen - but not actually put it under the microscope! And don’t forget the fancy colorful liquids. Or just touch it with your bare hands, it’s cool.

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