Countdown to #xBio 2014

Apr 11 2014 Published by under EB2014, Societies and Meetings

Two weeks from today I leave my home and head to glorious San Diego for Experimental Biology 2014, the annual gathering of the organizations that comprise the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, AKA FASEB. My favorite of these groups, the American Physiological Society, once again asked me to blog the meeting. I have finally gathered scheduling information and abstracts to organize my activities.

I will be attending and summarizing Saturday's session on storytelling for scientists, presented by Randy Olson. He has followed that traditional career trajectory from tenured professor to film school, and he wrote two books about scientists and communication skills (or, more accurately, lack thereof). I heard him speak at a screening of his film, Flock of Dodos, a few years back. His latest book, written with Dorie Barton and Brian Palermo, is Connection: Hollywood Storytelling Meets Critical Thinking. I am looking forward to seeing how his message has morphed over time. Obviously, I love communications, so this session is right up my alley.

Saturday also starts more traditional fare, including the Cannon Memorial Lecture. James M. Anderson of the NIH will present his talk, The Contribution of Paracellular Transport to Epithelial Homeostasis. As someone who teaches renal pathophysiology, this topic will be relevant. Look for some live tweets during this session.

Of course I will also attend and discuss the Gottschalk Award Lecture for the Renal Physiology Section on Monday afternoon. Susan Wall of Emory University will present her work on The Role of Pendrin the the Pressor Response to Aldosterone.

I have selected a number of abstracts that interest me; next week I will contact authors about coverage, either through email interviews, conversations on site, or perhaps even videos of them at their posters. See something in the program you think I should explore? Drop me a line via twitter (@phlane) or email (pascalelane [at] know the rest).

Be sure and follow me on twitter as well as @expbio, and track the official meeting hashtag (#xBio) while you're at it. You may not be gazing on San Diego harbor in the sunshine, but you can still get a feel for the science at the meeting.


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Back to Reality

Mar 19 2014 Published by under Blog Maintenance, Uncategorized

Urologist's ad in bathroom at Traditions Field

Urologist's ad in bathroom at Traditions Field

I have finally returned from a much needed vacation in the sunshine of Florida. We watched six spring training baseball games and saw our daughter. The ad pictured to the right was posted on the back of the bathroom stall doors in Port St. Lucie where the Mets play. My spouse shared that the same practice advertised in the men's room for treatment of erectile dysfunction...something about helping you get to home plate.

Now I must work again. Catching up always challenges me. I have finally learned to do what I can do; the whole backlog does not have to be completed the first day back (even if everyone wants their piece done immediately).

I have some material for posts piling up on my desk, so you should see something science-like in the near future.

In the meantime, I have to see a few patients!

By the way, if you haven't done so yet, go over here and support science education while playing bracketology with Darwin's Balls, our NCAA Basketball group. I have Cinderellas winning a bunch of rounds, so I may be out after the second round!


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Back in Flight

Nov 01 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

I write this post in the Oklahoma City airport, named for Will Rogers. This famous entertainer died in a plane crash, making the airport an ironic memorial.

Today begins 10 days on the road. The first stop is Philadelphia for the annual meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Next week I relocate to Atlanta for Kidney Week 2013; I hope you have all your shopping done for the festivities!

Today while I enjoy the friendly skies, enjoy yesterday’s post; if nothing else, it includes the GIF of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer dancing in The Sound of Music. You’re Welcome.


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No Trip Goes Unpunished: Many Tiny Receipts

Apr 26 2013 Published by under Travel

One of the "joys" of returning from a trip involves sorting receipts.  Food, cabs, and other expenses have to be documented, either for reimbursement or tax purposes. Manually entering stuff into a spreadsheet seems so last decade...

Expensify provides a 2013 method that even interfaces with Evernote, a ubiquitous clip-and-file app that works across all major desktop and mobile platforms. You get receipts into your Expensify account through several methods, including email (great for airfare), scanned PDFs (hotel bill), or photographs taken with your smart phone (most everything else). The latter can be saved to an Expensify notebook in Evernote which will automatically sync with your online account. Alternately, you can use the smartscan app within the Expensify app to add those items. The service can identify the vendor and total amount without issues. It dates receipts by default with the date of the scan; I wish it would use the date on the receipt instead, as it does for the ones I entered in other ways. You can add comments, tags, and categories for your receipts via the smart phone or web platforms.

You then assemble the receipts into a report. You can cluster your items by category or in other ways. Below is a screen shot from the web site:

The report can then be emailed to other users, saved as a PDF, or merely printed out. The report will include thumbnails of all receipts plus full-sized versions. My four-day trip to Boston generated 18 receipts, mostly for cabs. The final PDF is 25 pages long because it includes all of these images.

The Expensify app is free, and a Core account includes 10 image receipts per month. Upgrading to the Pro level lets you scan additional receipts at $0.20 each, a bargain in my opinion. I had my information organized in a flash this morning, all ready for the IRS in 2014.



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KBO: Keep Blogging On

Apr 17 2013 Published by under EB2013

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Winston Churchill during the Battle of Britain admonished folks to KBO or keep buggering on (he would use "plodding" when his delicate lady typists were present).  In my case, KBO will be my motto for Experimental Biology in Boston, as noted in the title of today's post.

I have picked out some sessions that I want to hear and write about. Now I want to give Whizbangers the chance to nominate presentations. Do you have an abstract that you would like featured? I am game to write about it (although you neuroscientists will have to assume a very rudimentary background knowledge on my part). Either send me a message on twitter (@PHLane) or you can email me (pascalelane) at gmail etc.

Click to buy an Ass-Pet

Keep an eye on my twitter feed to know when my meeting posts go up. Also be ready for more ASPET jokes; ASPET is just so much fun to say!



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Stiff Upper Lip and All That

Apr 16 2013 Published by under Travel

Yesterday our hearts went out to the people of Boston and the Marathon. I cannot imagine running 26+ miles, let alone facing carnage at the end.

Of course, like a number of other scientist types, I am visiting Boston for Experimental Biology later this week. My husband's first reaction last night involved me cancelling the trip.

No, I decided. Boston will be swept with a fine-tooth comb over the next 4 days. It may be the safest place in North America.

Also I am reading a book set during the London blitz right now, with the population dealing with German bombs from the skies and IRA bombs in the tubes. Did Britain let these threats stop them? Hell, no! They plastered the buildings left standing with inspirational posters and hunkered down.

We should do the same, so I made this today:

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Turns out there is a website where you can create your own variations on this poster. You can even buy merchandise with your message on it.

Terrorists/criminals win if they keep us away, and we will not help a single person by staying home. Let's show them what scientists are made of and get our butts to Boston!

It's the patriotic thing to do.


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Back Home Again

Nov 16 2012 Published by under [Etc]

I am finishing up my November travels. These began on Halloween with travels to San Diego to think about kidneys, followed by a flight up the coast to San Francisco for the Association of American Medical Colleges meeting. While there, I got to attend a great election watch party with a whole bunch of like-minded people. 

I came home for a weekend and a couple of clinics. This week I headed west again for my first trip to Portland and the annual congress of Vision 2020. We had an intense day discussing women and equality, with a panel on thoughts post election. [Hint: we all want Hilary to be president in 2016]

Now that I have once again acclimated to the pacific time zone, it's time to return to Oklahoma tomorrow. Future posts will deal with kidneys and discoveries and rampant feminist musings. In the meantime, I have to get packed.


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Dear Airlines of the US

Oct 23 2012 Published by under Travel

I flew last week on a carrier that was not my usual one. As a Premier member, I get early boarding on United; on American, I was in the last group on the plane. This only becomes an issue because of overhead baggage space. For a 3-day weekend, we did not need or want to check bags. Every flight, we had to fight for those last spaces for the roll-aboards.

I can solve this problem for the airlines. Really, it could be pretty easy. Since stowing bags is a major factor slowing the boarding process, everyone might be happier.

Image from Amazon

Charge for roll-aboards. Yup, all travelers get a personal item that fits under the seat in front of them - purse, laptop case, whatever. Give your frequent fliers the perk of a free roll-aboard in the overhead bin. Let everyone have a free checked bag, but make them pay for a roll-aboard. For the convenience of not awaiting my luggage, I would have gladly shelled out $50 each way this past weekend. To have you juggle and potentially lose my bags? Not so much. Have too many people paying for overhead space? Have your computer shunt them to the free checked bag alternative during the check-in process.

A lot of folks will choose to check if the alternative is $25 per bag. Getting on and off the aircraft will go much more smoothly.

At least think about it.


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Adventures in Air Travel

Jun 15 2012 Published by under Travel

As you may have noticed, I went offline for a bit while traveling to and from the diabetes meetings. My travels were supposed to end Tuesday evening; instead, I spent an extra day on the road in Houston, Texas.

First, the plane that would take me from Philadelphia to Houston arrived over an hour late from O'Hare. No one seems to be saying why this delay occurred. Once it got there, we boarded quickly and started our journey...sort of. See, Air Force One landed at PHL and backed things up a bit. We were number 35 in line to take-off on the single useable runway.

The only reason I might have made my connection in Houston came from a thunderstorm moving into southeastern Texas. While it did delay the final flight of the day to Oklahoma City, it did not do enough. That plane departed while my flight from Philadelphia tried to find an open gate.

I had already received an email with my booking information for the following day, but I had to stand in line for 1.5 hours for a hotel voucher. I ended up at a very nice Super 8 near IAH at 1 am. (Given the number of tight connections in Houston, I'm adding this place to my directory so I can bypass that line next time; I am willing to pay the extra $20 per night.) I slept, showered, and put my unclean clothes back on, landing in OKC 12 hours later.

Did I mention we had company coming that night? I went from the airport to the grocery store.

My saving grace is that I kept my schedule clear of patients the day after my trip, just in case. Hubby, on a different airline, got stranded in Atlanta and flew in much earlier on Wednesday. He saw patients all day long in his dirty laundry.

When, science, when?

My biggest question right now is why Air Force One flies in and out of civilian airports, disrupting air traffic? Why doesn't the prez use military facilities? Was it because this is a campaign trip or something?

Of course, had the plane been on time from Chicago this would not have been a problem.

When will we have that Star Trek transporter physiology worked out?


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More Wardrobe Advice

Apr 16 2012 Published by under Fashion (or not)

As I browse the long-term San Diego forecast, I see the possibility of a bit of rain. Yes, I always keep a tiny umbrella in my bag, but sometimes you need a bit more. If it can be stashed in my day bag, even better! Of course, I also want to look good, even in the rain.

I really like RainRaps:

I will be sporting the navy/turquoise one for now (others may be in my future). I love how much lighter it feels than my trench coat, especially for spring and summer showers in the warmer climate I now inhabit.


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