As the title says, survived the first week - not that it was at all hard. I think I'm going to like my new role at the Crystal Lab (a.k.a. The Laboratory of Structural Cell Biology) located at the Harvard Medical School (BCMP - Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, CMCD - Center for Molecular and Cellular Dynamics) and the Boston Children's Hospital. Though, technically I work for HHMI - Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Hereafter, all of this will be referred to as "The Crystal Lab". Part of the first week was just to get a grasp of where I was and am and will be.
Suffice it to say, it's a impressive group of various post-docs who run around like worker bees. My role in all of this is to maintain the group's several insect cell cultures (Hi5 and SF21) and other more general laboratory support. What happens in the lab - in a nutshell from what I understand so far - is that they take these cells as well as those from bacterial and/or yeast cultures to produce various complex protein structures which are crystalized and studied further. This is done via viral infection, transfection, and all a matter of other means - the scope of which I have yet to learn. In addition, a few of the postdocs are working on structures imitating various diseases sans viral component (Dengue, Malaria). All of this super charged research work needs some form of support, which I'm happy to be the one to provide.
Also, at the moment getting trained. The training wheels come off at the end of the month - hopefully I'll be able to integrate myself smoothly so that nothing gets disrupted!
Other perks to working in an academic environment are the various talks (though somewhat over my head) on related research topics as well as the free pizza and drinks. It seems an appropriate bribe on a Friday at noon.
The atmosphere is generally relaxed and because some of the work is of a repetitious nature (an onslaught of not so random pipetting, see picture) or a scheduled nature as in cell culture work - this means that although I may be a bit physically tired at the end of the day, my mind is by no means appeased. As a result, I'm happy and hoping to pursue all the rest of my favourite pursuits. So the novel writing will continue as well as the on-going Drupal work. I'm giving myself two weeks to get used to the change in routine before setting any major goals. In the meantime, working my way through Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, & Steel.