I’m always eager to see what the Backyard Brains braintrust has been up to this past year by visiting their presentation at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting. Looks like you’ll also want to join Drs. Gage and Marzullo at posterboard 206.7/LLL42 Sunday Nov 14 at 10am to find out how you can get your own remote navigation system for your common household pest, the cockroach.

This year’s edition of the science blogosphere’s drive to raise money to support classroom projects with Donors Choose has ended. However, if you were a donor this year, we need you to do one more thing. HP has donated matching funds which will be translated into a gift-code sent to the email address you used to originally register.
To expend these funds, you need to check the value on the gift-code and then go to Donors Choose and donate this value to one or more remaining projects.
Please consider these fine remaining challenges from the DrugMonkey blog giving page.

A project for High School frog dissection requires only $278, we could reach the finish line on this one easily with the matching funds from those of you that already gave to the DM challenge.
A middle school pig dissection project is also probably within reach at $478 remaining.
Thanks for participating this year, donors!

This year’s edition of the science blogosphere’s drive to raise money to support classroom projects with Donors Choose has ended. However, if you were a donor this year, we need you to do one more thing. HP has donated matching funds which will be translated into a gift-code sent to the email address you used to originally register.

To expend these funds, you need to check the value on the gift-code and then go to Donors Choose and donate this value to one or more remaining projects.

Please consider these fine remaining challenges from the DrugMonkey blog giving page.

A project for High School frog dissection requires only $278, we could reach the finish line on this one easily with the matching funds from those of you that already gave to the DM challenge.

A middle school pig dissection project is also probably within reach at $478 remaining.

Thanks for participating this year, donors!

This is Drug Facts Week, an effort of NIDA to promote understanding of the effects of recreational drugs. Although I’m slightly busy with other matters, I wanted to participate, partially, with a series of re-posts. This post originally appeared July 7, 2009.


I’ve taken the liberty of providing a title for a new case report on a fatality associated with consumption of Ecstasy which more accurately captures the tone of the article. In this case the authors go to some length to beat home a message that I have been known to blog now and again. The report is in the pre-print stage in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.
RHABDOMYOLYSIS IN MDMA INTOXICATION: A RAPID AND UNDERESTIMATED KILLER. “CLEAN” ECSTASY: A SAFE PARTY DRUG?
Herve Vanden Eede, MD, Leon J. Montenij, MD, Daan J. Touw, and Elizabeth M. Norris, MB, CHB. J Emerg Med. 2009 Jun 3. [Epub ahead of print], doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2009.04.057

Read the rest of this entry »

My email box overfloweth with references to an article in the Chronicle for Higher Education penned by Lawrence Hansen, M.D., a pathologist at the UCSD Medical School.
Dr. Hansen is an animal rights extremist who came to national attention with a fight to eliminate dog physiology lab classes from the UCSD medical education program. Since that era, he has penned a number of editorials and opinion bits that make it clear he has a more general interest in stopping the use of animals in research.
or…some animals, anyway.

Read the rest of this entry »

This is Drug Facts Week, an effort of NIDA to promote understanding of the effects of recreational drugs. I have a little bit of interest in such things. Unfortunately, I’ve been a bit busy and will continue to be so this week. So I thought I would get at least partially in the game with a series of re-posts. This post originally went up at Scienceblogs.com on April 29, 2008.


For some reason many people are in denial about cannabis dependence and wish to assert that there is no such thing, or if there is, it is somehow of lesser importance than is dependence on other substances of abuse. There are many ways to assess importance of course. What gets me going, however, are the assertions about cannabis abuse and dependence that are informed by anecdote and personal experience with a handful of users instead of an understanding of the available evidence.
To provide a little context for todays’ post, I took MarkH of denialism blog to task for his expression of what I viewed as standard cannabis science denialism a fair while ago. In a comment following his post, MarkH specifically identified nicotine withdrawal as being worse than cannabis withdrawal. This is the perfect setup since there are two recent papers which set out explicitly to test this hypothesis. Let us see what they found, shall we?

Read the rest of this entry »

Since the PP has been hitting it out of the park with hilarious videos and slightly more serious dissections of irrational responses to disappointing grant reviews, I’ve been thinking on one of the triggers.

Idiotic Comments.

Nothing makes a grant applicant fixate on the deficiencies of NIH peer review like an idiotic comment. We’ve all received them. The glaring mischaracterization of the literature. The utter misunderstanding of the preliminary data presented…or of the methodologies proposed. The occasional ad hominem that evades the SRO’s editorial hand. A puzzling failure to internalize the essential points made repeatedly in bullet point or bold face type throughout the application. Etc*.

But here’s the thing.

Idiotic comments have, in many cases, very little impact on the disposition of your grant. If your application is discussed at the table, then it is very likely that inaccurate and idiotic and even personally biased comments will be revealed for what they are. As I’ve said before, if your grant is to have a chance you are going to have to have won over at least one advocate. Perhaps several. One of these advocates is going to rebut misplaced comments during the course of discussion. They are going to evaluate the stupid comments as politely as possible…while still making it obvious what a screwed up criticism it really is.

The detractors often dig their own grave as well. If someone is riding a personal hobby-horse…this becomes really, really obvious in the course of discussion. They may even have a reputation (if they are a permanent member of the study section) for being sort of…blind….on a given topic and the rest of the panel discounts accordingly. [The slight caveat to this is that hobby horse riding does have the potential that a slightly cranky viewpoint** can be argued into the heads of other people over time. This, btw, is another reason to serve a full term on a study section, so that you can make your pet ideas have a little broader reach.] This is not an all-or-nothing thing, I should emphasize. In my experience, one may think a fellow member of the panel is absolutely nutz about one particular issue and still find them to be generally an excellent reviewer.

So calm down with the “flawed review” ranting. In most cases that comment that has you so exercised did not really make the difference between funding and “we advise you to revise and resubmit“.
__
*and by all means list your favorite idiotic reviewer statements in the comments

**and let us be clear, we all have our little hobby horses and biases

Triaged?

November 3, 2010

It’s pointless to talk to anyone until you get your summary statement.

You are absolutely forbidden from contacting the study section chair (or any other member of the study section) regarding your application. It is not impermissible to contact the SRO of the study section, but it is pointless, as they are only supposed to engage with you on issues relating to your application that arise prior to review.

Once your application has been reviewed, your PO becomes the point person for discussing the outcome of review. However, since your application was not discussed, the information available to the PO about review of your application is exactly the same as the information available to you: what is in the written critiques. If the PO has extensive experience with reviews by this study section and its members, then she *might* have some insights into how to interpret the reviews, but this is likely to be quite limited.

Your best resource for helping you interpret your written critiques is other PIs who have had grants reviewed, discussed, and scored by that study section, as well as any colleagues who are former/current members of the study section, but who did not serve the cycle in which your grant was reviewed. These individuals will be a source of information about the biases, preferences, etc, of the study section, and can help you read between the lines of your critiques to plan what to do next.

This whole process is very important, because what the critiques *say* were the key problems with your application aren’t necessarily what really sank it. If you can’t find anyone with direct knowledge of this study section, then your next best resource would be colleagues with extensive experience dealing with a broad array of study sections.

Don’t even think about appealing. And don’t bother trying to get that motherfucker Scarpa on the motherfucken phone.

SfN 2010: The BlogTwittup

November 2, 2010

Sfn10BANTER.jpgDr Becca and Tideliar, both of LabSpaces.net, have organized a social event for the online folks during the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting. Details are on this banner and you can visit Fumbling Toward Tenure Track or Some Lies to see who you might find attending.

Yes, my friends, mentoring goes up as well as down when you are a mid career scientist. Sometimes even the extremely well established named-chair University Professor of blah-de-blah needs a little reality check.
Fortunately, the good Comrade PhysioProf is here to help.

As if the paper review mashup wasn’t hilarious enough….

They told me an MD degree would help me secure funding…memorizing useless shit during the prime years of my life!

It is a very good day. The Downfall folks must have revoked their objection (or asked YouTube to restore access after an auto-ban that they didn’t ask for).

watch?v=-VRBWLpYCPY