Life has a funny way of giving you what you need, regardless of what you want. Once upon time, I had a plan. I wanted to move from basic research into something with a little more clinical relevance. While I was finishing up my graduate work, I wrote a grant to study ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease), my friend Brad was dying from it and the thought of having something so catastrophic happen while I sat idly by was not an option. It was during the last few weeks of editing that grant that I found my own fancy catastrophe lurking in my breast. Had I known that I was going to get SO MUCH first hand clinical experience, I might have decided to stick with my little teeny tiny atomic structures in the first place.
When I was first diagnosed, the last thought in my head was to get involved with cancer research. It was too close, too emotionally charged. Structural biology was nice and safe, there was plenty of distance between individual atoms and tumors. So much space in fact, that I could I would often forget that the electron clouds I would look at everyday had any bearing on anything even slightly related to life. But time has drawn me in and I can’t imagine sitting idly by while this catastrophe plays itself out in one more person with cancer.
I’m getting ready to write some grants. It's not enough to administer other peoples research, I need to develop my own project. I’m keenly interested in cancer immunology right now. It’s taken over a century, but there’s finally some definitive progress being made in this field. It’s just a matter of time, money, luck, and the right reviewers!