The core of my thesis is in quantifying and analyzing a certain class of organic molecule in a certain part of a certain organ, and how altering which/how many subtypes of those organic molecules that are present can change the function of the organ. An analogy could be, for example, which types of protein channels are present in the renal epithelia. If you change the types of channels, or alter the number of channels present, you’re going to change which molecules and ions (and what amount of them) get filtered out of the blood.

One of the biggest findings of my thesis so far is that I found a completely new type of protein channel in the renal epithelia (remember, this is an analogy). This protein channel exists in other types of epithelia in the body, but this is the first time anyone has found it in the renal epithelia. This means that I have to come up with a new model for how these channels are arranged, and how the presence of the new channels might impact what we know about the function of the existing channels.

This is both really exciting (because it brings up the overall importance of my paper and makes it more likely that I’ll be able to publish it in better journals) and really scary (because omg I’m the first person to ever try to explain this phenomenon and whatifI’mwrong?). My advisor told me to not be afraid of getting it wrong, and I’m working on that. I’m going to present several possible models, all of which could be wrong, but that’s for Future Michelle to worry about, not Current Michelle. I’ve already got some models sketched out (I’ve been learning how to use ChemBioDraw– what an AWESOME piece of software), and my advisor complimented my “creative thinking”. I think he’s just in an unusually good mood because he got the news that our most recent NSF grant proposal got approved over the weekend (YESSSSSSSS).

In other news, I just re-downloaded FeedDemon and spent a good portion of my evening browsing through other peoples’ blogrolls, looking for all the old blogs I used to read. In doing so, I just found out about Samia’s zomg grad skool carnival!!!1. I suppose I don’t technically qualify as a n00b anymore, but I’ll probably still type something up, because I think it’s an excellent idea.

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