The last six weeks, I have been limping like a small frog.  The reason:  I skid and fell down and had a major ligament (type 3) sprain in my right leg.  While I was there in the hospital for couple of days, I put positive frame of mind in attending my lab/office after five days, of course, then still limping. I have indeed become paraplegic!

Then came the thoughts on how a couple of my mentors and good well-wishers who are a reputed  scientists in the field could overcome these barriers in life. My sincere appreciations for their cause of ‘doing science and research’ that they have been making for years. Truly applaudable!  While sparing thoughts for  such scientists, I asked if it were a hindrance for doing science.  It was, to me at least certainly both physically and emotional pain that I have gone through (and still going through) for weeks now. I don’t think I have overcome this but I can sense what it takes for such people to overcome:

  1. Science is the only word they are passionate about.  They keep scientific and societal challenges as one.
  2. They consider themselves like “regulons” and so they are not worried about what suppresses or activates them.
  3. They are willing to help, spend time and most importantly do NOT worry about their disability.
  4. To them, there is only one  entity:  The goal of serving the cause:  Be it science or society!

Let us proudly present the people whom we know are doing science, research and help us get inspired and motivated. Let us be selfish for the reason being we are all humans.

I have two eminent scientists to mention:

Dr. G Bhanuprakash Reddy, Senior Scientist at National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad who is also my mentor

Dr. Sivaramaiah Nallapeta, a good friend of mine and who works as a Senior Scientist for Nanotemper technologies, Bangalore.

They are well known. A simple google search takes them everywhere.

My sincere salutations Bhanu and Sheev!

Prash for Bioclues.org

 



I love sharing news with my colleagues, friends and well-wishers. I have been an e mail maniac. After all, I am a computational biologist and I work with computers. Shouldn’t I take some time to relax? Yes I am a human: So what could I do to take some time off? I take small intermittent breaks and post the scientific news in the blogs, groups that I am associated with. I would do it often rather keeping it at bay. I get motivated with small-time e mails that others do send, ensure I read them ,get back to work while I share them again with friends whom I feel that it ought to be shared. Now comes the problem. People call(ed) me a s-p-a-m-m-e-r😦 and wondering how I react(ed)?

1. The first thing, of course a jovial thing to start with, I would say is that I am not a S-C-A-M-M-E-R:-). See it isn’t ‘C.’
2. I begin using a virtual alias and interestingly when the mails come from an alias (anonymous), there aren’t any complaints! They happily receive it; enjoy reading the mails and the science behind it. Hmmm… Isn’t it something to do with human psyche?
3. I often don’t get replies or appreciation (No self-propaganda or self-appraisal please!). Would I be miffed? After all, it is I who did spend some minutes in sending an e mail to many. Initially I did feel bad, but now I have become a commoner. The least I could feel good is that I am not called as a s-p-a-m-m-e-r :-)

Take home message: Be what you are 



I am sure everyone would have had a career break during one’s lifetime. So do I. I have always wondered how best we could cope up so as to bridge ourselves during the time where you try to build your career. Here are my takes:

1. Keep your morale high. That always helps.

2. You would for sure get different thoughts. Invite them, discuss with your peers and friends.

3. Spend as much time you could with your friends.

4. Start writing a review on your subject that has caught an interest. This would be my best take as it would help you move forward. What more! a publication is no different in taking you setup some goals:-)

5. Subscribe to different journals, have a bird’s eye view of different new words you come across.

6. Setup some coffee meetings with your peers, ex colleagues or perhaps future lab mates/colleagues?

7. Update your Linkedin and Research Gate profiles whilst taking premium account that is offered to you:-)

8. Participate, discuss in forums and prepare for some questions that you might expect in the future.

9. Save some energies even as you start reading journals, newspapers, watch movies etc.

10. And …why not blog so as to help people like me read such stories :-))

All the best
Prash



I have been taken aback when I was told by one of my mentees that a CSIR qualified student need to write an examination again in order to qualify for registering PhD in participating organizations. I fail to understand what and how such competency is assessed.  Why double participation and assessment?  I think it is waste of man hours and unnecessarily creating extraneous competence in assessing genuine candidates.  Furthermore, I feel lots of time can be saved if this can be avoided.  Let the student be asked to write a project proposal and present on the topic instead.   Shouldn’t this work better?

 

Is someone listening please?



I hail from a small order named Passeriformes, with genus Passer domesticus. I was well-known and commonly regarded as House Sparrow and I’m not sure how many of my genre do put up their living in your households. At least in a city life, my kith and kin alike are not found. Kindly spare a thought on our bird family. We are in the greatest threat of being endangered. And sorry, I mean to say that You are the culprit. May I ask you to put the following iota of thoughts as a new year resolution, should you spare time?

*Please avoid mobiles that cause radiation. Kindly ensure to ask the shopkeeper the radiation index of the instrument you purchase.

*These days, there are walkies which work on landlines rather mobile signals. Would you mind purchasing the one? They are less costly and would prove to be a classy gadget than the pocket-size instrument.

*I recently heard that Skype is doing an amazing thing wherein you could use it for Androids and other lappy/notebooks. Could you please use it for your long talks?

*Could someone study the reason of genetic differentiability in our sedentary birds?

*Use hand-held walky instruments which can be connected to mobiles whence at home.

Kindly spare a thought on the aforementioned as I fly back to put a word to my friends, saying: “yes, there are still good listeners in India.”

Yours, once passionate bird,

Passer domesticus



I have a great respect for authors who publish very nice articles which allows me to get inspired. But sometimes I wonder how good is the girth of the manuscript with respect to the number of authors? I mean, would the content of the manuscript fit into precisely the “number of authors” have worked for the manuscript? Is it worth to have “those number of authors” for a manuscript? With due respect to my fellow scientists, I feel sometimes it is overwhelming to mention this. I suggest the journals to incorporate the following measures for this:

1. Before the manuscript is to be written or the work is to be carried, let the authors realize what and the how of contribution for the work. If someone feels that an iota of work is being done/reviewed by so many authors, perhaps a possible explanation be given in the covering letter to the editor.

2. Let there be a three-way test before one sums up the contribution:

Am I involved?
Is my contribution worthwhile?
Am I concerned in lieu of the girth of the manuscript?

I get reminded of the following quotes by Samuel Johnson:

Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.

Just my two cents
Prash



Indian research especially in Biology has gained momentum in recent years. Young researchers and graduate students have acquired interest in science through extra mural funding they receive. While there are well-to-do laboratories that have substantial funding, often the funding leads them to get published in reputed journals. In contrast, there are not so well furnished laboratories who may or may not be deprived of publications. Let’s consider these two parlance as the haves and the havenots respectively. Oftentimes, it is observed that the laboratories with good funding tend to publish good research articles in contrast to mediocre publications by the ones who have limited or no funding. I have an intuition that publishing through open access would bridge these two things. In developing nations like India where open access is a leeway for scientists to publish research, it is rather difficult for the havenots to get their research published in open access and reputed journals. There are quite good number of so-called havenots – young scientists and graduate students, not-for-profit organizations who have been doing noble research but often do not have the capital necessary to take forward the research to a next level or get their research published in open access journals. Although many journals provide access to scholarly literature, and waivers for little or no cost, there is no backing from government agencies for havenots.

So is it like the one who publish in reputed and high impact factor journals oft hail from well-to-do laboratories? Whilst the havenots end up publishing the spiffing research through waivereds or remain as just havenots if their research is not acceptable. The food for thought here is to raise the standards of havenots in research especially in developing countries like India. This can certainly be done if the funding organizations start a seed funding initiative like Nature Innocentive for innovative ideas keeping in mind the graduate students and researchers. This will carve out a niche for those laboratories to cover the cost for General Laboratory Practices besides seeking waivers for publishing in open access journals.

In doing so, we could produce two things in science and academia:
1. A creative output to financially compensate the research thus innovating ideas.
2. Creating science writers with passion for research and open access.
This I believe will hold relevance to Indian science especially when an estimated 50% of Indian graduates think to settle abroad. Otherwise, I’m afraid that the research investigations would just be amusing leaving the knowledge behind. Let there be no debate again on Publish or Perish.

“Creative thinking ability facilitates the ability to realize innovations.” ~ Emem Ite




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