Grad students are hilarious

March 9, 2016

Scene: Laboratory of Hibernation Studies

PI: “We need to discuss your thesis plans…what have you come up with so far?”

Grad Student: “Bears”

PI: “What? Dude, we have a sweet ground squirrel model all ready to go. What do you want to use it for?”

GS: “I want to start up a bear lab. It’ll be great.”

PI: -Dead Stare-

GS: “Bears! Hibernation! …..get it?”


GS: “Meanie”

16 Responses to “Grad students are hilarious”

  1. zb Says:

    Bear hibernation does seem interesting :-).


  2. drugmonkey Says:

    I know, right zb? What kind of meanie exploiting mentor wouldn’t back their graduate student’s dreams about a bear model?


  3. PSB Says:

    Depending on the Francophilia of the student in question, a good direction to point them would be toward estevating snails. Seriously, you keep snails in a tank, and when you take away the lettuce leaf they go into a kind of hibernation. Here’s a paper…

    Bonus – you get to eat your experiments for dinner, thereby solving the other great dilemma of grad’ student life, i.e. how to afford gourmet food.


  4. Jonathan Badger Says:

    Actually a lot of how hibernation works is due to brown fat thermogenesis, and that can be studied in mice (or indeed squirrels to keep the metaphor going). So maybe the issue is that the advisor needs to show how the lab’s model can address the question the student is interest in.


  5. becca Says:

    Ground squirrels don’t hibernate, they stay awake all year long to eat soft pretzels on the quad. Geeze, DM, do you even university?!?!

    Also, where is Pascale when you need her? Squirrels have to wake up to urinate. Bears do not. Ergo, bears must have more interesting kidneys, and they must be the more interesting model. QED.


  6. potnia theron Says:

    woodchucks (Marmota monax)
    Then you can have tongue twister contests in lab, too.


  7. banditokat Says:

    You’re clearly very sad without Twitter. I’m sorry, Ted.


  8. drugmonkey Says:

    the advisor needs to show how the lab’s model can address the question the student is interest in.

    Yes, it is really unfortunate that lazy, evil, meanie PIs do not talk to grad students about the data and papers that have already resulted from the ground squirrel model.


  9. jmz4 Says:

    I just learned recently that tardigrades (water bears) can be cultured pretty easily with the same materials used for c. elegans. Definitely interested in giving them a go. Of course, I’ll probably wait till I have my own lab, so no mean PIs can dash my dreams of creating an army of indestructible micro-minions.


  10. becca Says:

    The worst part about being a grad student is the inability to get anyone on board with your plans for armies of indestructible micro-minions.
    The worst part about being a PI is the inability to get your trainees on board with your plans to turn them into armies of indestructible micro-minions.


  11. dnadrinker Says:

    There’s some interesting anecdotal evidence that humans can get into a torpor state, like hibernation. Look up what happened to Mitsutaka Uchikoshi There’s a few other cases like his.


  12. drugmonkey Says:

    Is that what is going on with PhysioProffe?


  13. jmz4 Says:

    Ok, what if I settle for turning the trainees into a brigade of milli-minions, but let them build their own armies of micro-minions?


  14. new PI Says:

    I had this conversation with my new grad student a few months ago. I could briefly see the light flicker and die in his eyes. My dreams stumbled too: hadn’t he joined my lab to do amazing things with ground squirrels together? (Also, bears are obviously dumb, and I don’t have the IRB approval anyway…) He’s working on a fantastic project on squirrels. I should see when he graduates if he still thinks I’ve crushed his dreams. I’m a little afraid to ask before then.


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