The first lab meeting was held by our group this morning and yours-truly was up first. The idea behind our first rotation was simple: ‘What have done in your previous life before the Queller-Strassmann group?’, ‘What are you working on currently?’, and ‘What do you want to do next?’. This is so that our new graduate students can get a feel for the kinds of experiments one can do with these strange and enigmatic social amoebae, the Dictyostelids, and how researching them can really help in our understanding of social evolution.
Now, the first two questions should have been simple, I have talked so many times on them in previous lab meetings, conference talks as well as talks to the public. The third question required using a little imagination and – God-forbid! – a little theoretical thinking. So why on Earth could I barely form a sentence? I suppose it is because the dust is still settling at the lab and although I am getting my broths autoclaved and my Dictyostelium strains hatched from the freezer, really all I have been doing over the last month is packing boxes, unpacking boxes, organising box-contents and arranging said contents in drawers. Of course we have been discussing science; it one of the good things about our lab, we are always talking either formally or informally about stuff we can do. But generally (I won’t lump anybody else into this category), I haven’t been thinking enough. Unless you count deciding on the best place to store the inoculating loops.
We have also had long discussions to how to get all our rationales in synch, and it has been most productive; we have all made compromises and nobody has had a hissy-fit (at least not yet!). We are also having great fun working together to train up our new graduate students. In fact all is well, except for the fact that when I really try to sit down and think, or if someone asks me a question on my research, my eyes glaze over a little. I can only conclude that due to lack of proper use, my mind had legged it in search of a better home. So if anybody has seen my brain please mail it to Washington University, St Louis. I really need it back!