Thursday, 30 June 2022

should I stay or should I go?

Stazione di Povo con los graffitis y la Vigolana, stay or go

    I'm here at my desk. It's dark, I hear the man vacuuming on the other side of the door. My neck is blocked, but today is Monday. On Monday I do aerial silks in Pergine and I can stretch my neck. I like Mondays because I get to the lab early, with the feeling of fulfilment from the weekend, and I stay until I catch the train to Pergine. While waiting for the train, I call my mother, and then walk to the aerial silks gym. I climb the silks with no pressure. It's a whole day for my research, my family, my body.

No masks at work anymore in a beautiful shared office

     I love DNA and I love mountains, but, what is the limit between "professional" curiosity and "hobby" curiosity? Are there different kind of curiosities? For me, it's extremely hard to distinguish, so here I am. What should I focus my research on? Should I stay on cancer genetics or go to glacial biology?

Foto de la muestra de Matteo Pavana en Bolzano, L'eco dei ghiacciai, se ven las crioconitas que son los puntos negros donde se acumula tierra y polvo, se derrite el hielo y puede alojar vida

   Trenitalia 16131, 17 minutes late. It's the first time the train to Pergine is late. I feel relaxed and I continue writing.

Dog in a climbing crag, relaxed, or bored?

    The controller didn't say anything about my non-FFP2 mask, non me ne frega niente, neanche lui. What matters to me the most is my future research topic. Cancer genetics or glacial biology? Do I stay on my current field, studying the fascinating process of how normal cells become cancerous, or do I try to change to a completely new topic: how life grows on glaciers?

Pintura abajo de un árbol ilustrando le Tre Cime di Lavaredo o il Sassolungo, no sé, vida

    The point is whether to specialize and go deep in a topic or to continue exploring broad. At some point we all should become specialists, otherwise, you do not focus enough in a topic and you remain too wide. Why is this negative? Because you never reach the point in which you really dived deep into a problem and know all the insignificant details of an issue, and are able to push the limits of what we know about it. Think about anything you have been doing for at least 10 years (minimum practice of 2 hours a day), you became an expert on that (working as a lawyer, playing tennis or parenting).


    The pioneer in cancer immunotherapy, Dr. Rosenberg, not only highlighted these two aspects (immersion and focus) during his conference, but he also emphasized that we must attend seminars on different fields, learn as much as we can, broaden our knowledge to progress in research. In his recent comment paper, plant biologist Sophien Kamoun, strongly argued to not to hyperspecialize! : 1) build expertise in multiple areas to develop an antifragile profile; 2) be generous in our learning efforts; 3) Just do it, anything. Beautiful, mainly the last one.

What you see is a mechanical engineer gardening

    More and more scientists are moving to the environment field, and funding for molecular ecology are increasing in the last years. What is clear for me? It's clear that I love molecular biology and in particular DNA, how it is organized in the cell, how it interacts with proteins, how the environment can change the expression of the DNA, and ultimately how our way of living impacts our genetic expression. I love all these tiny things occurring unceasingly in our cells, and their link with the decisions we take. 
    What is true for me? It is true that when not working on molecules, I'm in the mountains. They are part of my life, they are part of me. I can not explain in better words how important mountains are for me. Even if inanimate or inert for most of the people, they move, they breathe, they live for me.

El Palon del Bondone, #mirestoenbondon

    What is not clear for me? It is not clear whether to follow the interest and curiosity of my heart, or to continue growing as a researcher in the field I currently am. Mountains seem to be a passion, a hobby, I am not sure whether I should focus my research on them. In August, I will take the training course of my life at the EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory): I will learn how to study the insects and microorganisms that live on glaciers, by studying the small pieces of DNA they leave on glaciers. This is the kind of things I could do as a molecular biologist in the environment field, molecular ecology. We basically take samples from any place in the environment such as lakes, soil, glaciers, and we then analyse the DNA content and find to what species they belong. We can compare samples from different moments and track how the presence of species evolve with seasons/years/climate change. It is not clear for me whether I will move to this new field or not, but for sure this new knowledge will help me to build my path, together with the infinite amount of virtual and online courses I already completed. Anyway, what contribution could I make? Do they need me? Who knows. 
    What is not true for me? That even if determined, I've never been single-minded. I'm hybrid, I love my research topic, I love my sport, I love my country and my language, but I love more to explore new ones. So, I probably have to accept that I will always face changes in career, sports and places to live. I guess the cleverness is to transform this aspect of me in a strength and not in a weakness.

The kind of things my mother sends me when I tell her I feel tired

    What I think and hope it could happen: I will finish my period as a cancer geneticist in Trento, I will, in parallel, attend courses and learn about molecular ecology of alpine environments and then move to a new postdoc project still on cancer. Then in the future, when I will be an established scientist, if I ever will, I will have the opportunity to focus and apply my expertise on molecular biology to questions related to alpine environments, ideally combining my interests, I hope.
    What it will happen: I don't know. I can only do things, anything.

This week I learnt how to change a spit, just do it, anything

Thursday, 9 June 2022

variabilidad biológica

gracias Jérém por el videito

    Sentada en el piso de la cocina, escribo estas reflexiones, antes de hacer una visita matinal por la marzolina. Tengo el café en la panza y me siento bien. Un poco de ansiedad por los resultados de los experimentos de hoy. Según el análisis de ayer, parece que no logré reproducir los resultados de la semana pasada. ¿Tendré que repetir el experimento una vez más? ¿Es una batalla perdida contra la variabilidad biológica?

    Me veo despegar en este video. Revivo las sensaciones. Siento los comandos en mis manos, la tensión de la vela, la brisa entrando por el frente de mi parapente. Estoy en Francia, en Saint Vincent les Forts. Cuánto me habían hablado de este sitio de vuelo. El famoso Saint Vincent donde se vuela sobre el lago, se aterriza en la playa, se hacen vuelos increíbles de distancia.

    Tengo ganas de volar. Me preparo sobre el césped sintético que lograron instalar los locales con alguna subvención, se ve lindo, felicitaciones. Saint Vincent se pone fuerte después de las 2 pm dicen, atención, explota. Ninguna vela en el aire. Mi análisis me indica que las condiciones son adaptadas a mi nivel, y las previsiones anuncian una ventana de vuelo amplia. Disfruto. Disfruto. Bajo. Busco aterrizaje en la playa. Aterrizo tranquilamente, contenta y frustrada.

    Subo a pie, hago dedo. Me sube una pareja de Cuneo, charlamos, me dejan en el cruce. Camino, hago dedo. Me sube un señor local que me dice que debería haber esperado un poco para despegar, que era muy temprano para lograr mantenerse en vuelo. ¿Tendrá razón? ¿Quién sabe más, yo que soy pilota pero que no conozco el lugar, o el señor local que no vuela? Una hora y media después de aterrizar, llego al despegue nuevamente.

    Como, charlo con los pilotos que llegan, espero a Jérémie que aterriza en el despegue, me preparo para volver a despegar. Todo listo, la brisa se intensificó, espero con calma el momento justo para despegar, tengo ganas de volar. Se acerca un joven local y me pregunta cuánto hace que vuelo, me dice que a 50 km entró un viento de 40 kmh, que hubo un accidente en otro despegue, que me aconseja no volar. Cierro la vela furiosa, muy furiosa, lanzo un grito al aire. Me voy a correr al bosque.

    Al día siguiente en Céüse me encuentro con Nick, que me cuenta que la pilota que tuvo un accidente a 50 km de Saint Vincent era de Nueva Zelanda como él, y que murió. Lloré.

    ¿Dónde está el equilibrio entre ser fiel a mis convicciones, tomando mis propias decisiones, y aceptar al mismo tiempo la información externa y la opinión de los demás? ¿Puede otra persona tomar una decisión por mí? ¿Tengo que mantenerme permeable al otro mientras me transmite sus temores? ¿Mis propios temores no son suficientes para protegerme? ¿Tengo que comportarme como el resto o tengo que trascender? ¿Es una batalla perdida contra la variabilidad biológica o una batalla ganada?

    Quiero que mi vida sirva.

    Voy a repetir el experimento.

Saturday, 28 May 2022

flying obsession

by Anaé

I just want to be doing this. 

Obsession for flying
Sometimes I'm on DNA, molecules, glaciers, meteorology, Jérémie, climbing or running. But always, I want to fly. I want to be flying. I feel attraction by the state of being flying, and I want to stay in that state.
I detach my feet from the grass. Thoughts stop moving, stress comes down, expectations cease, problems stay on the ground, all my life is concentrated in that instant. I feel the tension of the glider on my hands. I am present, alive, and nothing else is happening.

Obsession for flying long
I enjoy when I immerse myself in the flight, when I have the time to live in that state of being flying. So, I need to focus and put my efforts on trying to stay flying. I want to fly long.

Obsession for flying long and far
I take off and I will land anywhere. That's what I like. Trying to fly to that mountain, to the next valley, over that village. Travelling, moving, crossing. Taking the risk of going far, to unknown lands. The uncertainty of not knowing what's coming next, next hour, next minute, next second. 

Obsession for flying long and far and high
The higher I am, the farther and longer I fly. It's the art of climbing. Climbing the air, invisible lifting air. How can I get inside the columns of warm air? How can I stay in? Thermals of my life, let me enter you, let me stay, bring me up and abandon me. I will follow you birds, to find my thermal, to climb together, to fly high, and far, and long.

Obsession for flying long and far and high and safe
I want to live to fly more.