So, we are in the home stretch… the final evening of the meeting that I am currently attending. It’s a small meeting- all the right players are here. For me it has been alternately up and down, in my current state I am alternately very enthusiastic about science, and depressed by the sad state of funding etc etc. These sentiments seems to reflect the mood of many of the attendees however. Stories of everyone else’s difficulties have trickled out here and there… although in general I think people want to put a good face on things.
My GradAdvisor spoke at this meeting. Outside of the talk being really excellent, I got to see the current state of a long story in which I was fortunate enough to play a small part at the beginning. I loved my graduate school project, in fact one of the things that kept me coming into the lab every day was the desire to see the project go, to find the answer and to see what was around the next bend in the project. Graduate school was a long, and at times frustrating road- but that desire to see the next result really kept me inspired. Anyway- that was way back in the mid 90s- I graduated in 1999. So it has been a little more than 10 years since the first molecular players in the process that I studied as a graduate student have been known. GradAdvisor has continued to work on these projects and gave the current state of things in his talk a few days ago. I found it very gratifying to see the enormous progress that has been made in this area …. especially in the last 5 or so years. Although translation of basic science results to bedside is not the usual kind of gratification we get from basic science- one of the kinds of gratification we do get is being able to start a story and see it progress…. even if we are started on a new one in the meantime, and someone else is continuing the old one. We get to see that we were part of the foundation upon which new knowledge is being built.
This feeling, and the flood of new ideas that always come when I go to a meeting were some of the most gratifying parts of this meeting for me. Then, of course, the feeling of knowing that I am not the only one struggling a bit right now is also a good way to put things in perspective.