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Marisa.UVA

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About Marisa.UVA

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    Caffeinated

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  • Program
    Neuroscience
  1. So due to a series of rather unfortunate events, my fall rotation for my neuroscience Ph.D. program fell through this past week. Due to extraneous circumstances, I am unlikely to be able to join the lab I am currently rotating in, although I absolutely love the work (which is on stem cell transplants for CNS repair). My fall rotation is supposed to begin this coming Monday, August 25, and I am scrambling to find a lab that A) has the funds to support me were I to eventually join, has the room for a rotation this fall, and C) has research in a field I am interested enough in to believe I could have a chance of working there permanently. I have found two labs, of which I have to decide between by Tuesday. Let me lay out the options, because essentially I am having a very hard time choosing which route to take. Peripheral Nerve Crush Lab Pros: Broadly applicable techniques I would be exposed to, including electrophysiology, nerve injection, transgenic mouse models, and PCR. Is already listed as neuroscience training lab, so setting up a rotation would be easy. Cons: The research is on a topic which I am vaguely interested in (PNS regeneration and repair), but does not excite me in the least due to the approach they are taking (looking at gene expression over natural repair timecourse). I find the PI a little dull for my taste, though he is very smart and well-known. I do not believe I would be excited enough about the type of research they are doing to eventually join this lab, but I do know I would learn a lot that would be applicable in other labs. Biomaterials Lab Pros: Highly funded, very cutting edge research that I find fascinating. There are projects that have been going on in the lab which involve creating scaffolds for prolonged release of growth factors and/or transplantation of stem cells into both the CNS and PNS, which I find extremely exciting. I could potentially love this work, although I have had no experience in bioengineering and therefore cannot be sure I'd like it. The PI is very nice and I really enjoyed meeting him, and our conversation was already exciting me to the point where I was thinking about where I could take his research. Cons: It is NOT a neuroscience lab, which means I would have to get special permission to rotate there. Because of this same fact, I would be largely independent to the point of "working like a post-doc;" i.e. I would have help creating a basic project and the materials I wanted to use, but I would be on my own in terms of application to the nervous system. If I rotate here and love it, awesome. But if I rotate here and do not, the techniques would be less broadly applicable than those I'd learn in the other lab. My main issue is that I do not want to waste a rotation. Because I am fairly certain I will not end up in my current lab, I am afraid to enter a lab I am sure I will not like, because that means my third and final rotation has to be THE lab (if you will). Any thoughts on this issue? Thanks so much, guys!
  2. Hey! Science_Nerd, you guys are lucky you have an orientation for the summer starters. How's it going so far for you? I forget when you were moving here. Anyway, I moved to Pittsburgh 9 days ago and started my first rotation the very next day! O.o But honestly, so far, I love it. It's kinda sad but I think I'm the only one from my year who's here already... *so lonely* Have you met people from your program yet?
  3. I found my place on Craigslist. BUT- I realized fairly early on I couldn't afford the studios and 1 bedroom apartments, so I found two roommates to share a 3 bedroom place which nearly halved my expected rent costs.
  4. Congrats Science_Nerd! I also just signed a lease for a place in Squirrel Hill, close to Murray Ave. We may just happen to run into each other.
  5. Congrats Science_Nerd! Can't help you out with early IBGP starters, but my first rotation starts June 2 (so earlyyyy...) according to what I was told over email/phone. I can't move up until June 1 so that will be interesting.
  6. Awesome! Nice to meet you guys. Even though we aren't in the same program, I will also be in the BST/BST3 area so we might just happen across each other. Housing is confusing so far. I'm looking for female housemates so I can find a house or apartment with 3-5 bedrooms for about $500/month. I also looked at studios/1 bedroom apartments but I found that they were too pricey for me.... there were a few at $650 or below but they're few and far between... and who knows what they are actually like in person. When are you guys gonna be moving to Pittsburgh?
  7. Hey people! I'm just starting this thread in the hopes that anyone attending Pitt this year will see it... and we can discuss housing, things to do, excitement, etc etc! I'll be joining Pitt's neuroscience graduate program this summer in June!
  8. After lots of thinking, I've finally made an official decision to attend the University of Pittsburgh!
  9. Go to Pitt. Only partially because I am 99.99% sure I will be going there as well... haha. But in all seriousness, it sounds like you are far more excited about attending Pitt. In the end, the SMALL advantages you would get at UMN are not guaranteed nor are they worth attending a school you aren't as happy with or whose research isn't as exciting to you. Professors may like that you have your own funding, but that is no guarantee they'd pick you over a student who didn't, if they connected better with the other student and felt they were a better match for the lab. Besides, people can always pick up their own funding over the years, so there's no guarantee you'd stand out after a little while in that respect. If you loved the professors and research at Pittsburgh, and you can see yourself living there, and you can easily live with the stipend you'll be getting, there is no reason why you shouldn't pick it over UMN.... just my opinion though.
  10. Marisa.UVA

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Obviously everybody has different opinions when it comes to what to do in cold weather. I personally am bad at driving in snow with my two-wheel-drive car, so I'd be taking the bus. But others may be just fine with driving. We really don't have to throw names and insults around, though, do we? It seems a bit childish to be angry at someone for doing things differently than us. Anyway, thanks for all the help with bus routes and detailed explanations. It is VERY helpful and I really appreciate all you guys helping. I think I will probably decide to live in either Squirrel Hill or North Oakland (if I can find a place maybe bordering Shadyside area). If I have any more questions, I'll be sure to PM you, PowderRiver! Thanks!
  11. Marisa.UVA

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Ok thanks, good to know about the buses as I assume I'll be using them very frequently and probably late at night too. So is Polish Hill not walkable to the university area, if I chose to walk? Lawrenceville seems even farther away than Polish Hill but maybe geography/highways changes that... Honestly I probably can't afford Shadyside (for what I want to pay), but Squirrel Hill seems to vary a lot price-wise. I loved the houses I saw in Squirrel Hill when I visited... are the neighborhoods of Lawrenceville and Friendship/Bloomfield much the same? Bloomfield also looks really close to Pitt- is it an area where grad students normally live? And for South Side Slopes- don't you have to cross a bridge to get to the university? Sorry for all the questions but thanks so much for all your help already!
  12. I got my first acceptance while I was INTERVIEWING with a faculty at the second school! Thankfully my phone was on vibrate... but I was sweating in my pants trying to pretend I didn't hear it. I got my second acceptance while I was making a ham sandwich, four days later. I was thankfully in my apartment that time so I could dance like a maniac and punch the air while speaking in a professional manner. I guess the faculty member didn't hear my phone vibrating after all...
  13. Marisa.UVA

    Pittsburgh, PA

    Can anyone tell me anything about Polish Hill and North Oakland areas? Also how is Lawrenceville compared to Squirrel Hill/Shadyside?
  14. Now that people are talking about making decisions, can we all be sure to post where we end up going? I'd love to see how things pan out for everyone.
  15. I got into UVA fairly soon after the interview. I'll be deciding in about two weeks where to go. I'll let you know if I turn down.
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