So I just got home from the EMBL Australia PhD course (a.k.a. Nerd Camp) in Melbourne and I am EXHAUSTED. I am so grateful to EMBL for running the course, I have had such an insightful and fun two weeks, and it was a great 'break' from lab work; just what I needed to kick-start my enthusiasm after a few lab hiccups. Anyway, here are a few precious wisdom nuggets from some of the great speakers at the course. Hopefully some of them are interesting for some of you non-scientists out there.
Professor Doug Hilton, Director of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research When asked (by me, I might add) what he would say if he could go back and tell his 21 year old self something, Doug focussed his regrets about his attitudes when he was younger. Namely; that he maybe should have mellowed out earlier and been less jealous of those who got recognised before him.
Professor Trevor Lithgow, Protein Targeting and Molecular Machines Laboratory, Monash University If you don’t have a good anti-body, you don’t have a good project.
Dr. Michael Kuiper, Computational Molecular Scientist, University of Melbourne If you write down what you think is technologically amazing today, and look at it in 20 years time, you will laugh at yourself. Don’t be afraid to think of your data in the context of future technologies (for analysis), because there really is no limitation.
Professor Terry Speed, Head of Bioinformatics, Director of Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research You can’t ignore bioinformatics: and if you don’t like it, you’re stuffed. If you’re a mathematician, learn more biology. If you’re a biologist, learn more maths.
Dr. Bernhard Dichtl, Lecturer, Deakin University Keep your eyes outside of the box; every step of transcription is significant.
Dr. Traude Beilhaz, Research Fellow, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing & Health Sciences, Monash University Don’t forget that we are all really privileged to s something which we are intellectually stimulated by.
Dr. David Barnes, Head, Image Analysis & Informatics, Monash Biomedical Imaging, Monash University On the misrepresentation of data (this quote may have switched context from its original use, but it's still pretty relevant here!); “There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know.” Donald Rumsfeld
Associate Professor James Bourne, Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute Be ready to question things be prepared to take shit for it.
Professor Nadia Rosenthal, Scientific Head of EMBL Australia If you’re not having fun, it’s not worth it.