Friday, January 29, 2016

Getting some work done

Been hard at work here, with some accomplishments to show for it.  Ingrid and I wrote and submitted a new pre-proposal for an NSF grant "Phylogenetic ecology of plant disease" that builds on work that we published in the Nature paper last year.  We are really excited about how those ideas developed, and the potential for that work, if it is funded.  It was great working together so intensely on developing the new ideas.  It was a ton of intense work over the last month - and then a server glitch made us start the long submission process over from scratch just a few hours before deadline.  But we made it, and I made brownies to celebrate the submission!  Now just need to forget it for a few months until it is reviewed. 

We each were also part of developing and submitting two other separate NSF pre-proposals, where we are senior personnel.  Fortunately our collaborators had the lead on those proposals, so that wasn't quite as much heavy lifting.

We heard that our Annual Review of Phytopathology chapter was accepted (although we still have some work on revising that), and now we are on to an article on invasions and disease for TREE with a couple new collaborators.    I've also be going back and forth over two articles with collaborators from China -- one submitted today, and another should be done in another round or two of revisions.   And I managed to submit the 120-page final report on my collaborative work with USDA APHIS. 

Right after we got back from Morocco I took the AVE to Barcelona to be part of a Doctoral Defense.  Quite a different process from what I'm used to.  The three of us on the Tribunal were not involved in his dissertation work except reading the final product.  He gave a 45 talk summarizing his work, with a public audience (including his family) while the Tribunal sat on a small elevated stage to the side.  After the talk, we each took about 30 min to grill him with questions about his dissertation (again, with mom, the aunts, and other family groupies listening in), then retreated to a separate room to discuss and write three separate reports while he waited.  Then back to the main room, read out the results, then head to a different place for a huge spread of food, cider, beer, and wine.  So glad he had done a really great job on the dissertation and the talk -- seems like a lot of potential for an uncomfortable situation.

After the exam I headed to Zaragoza to the Institute of Pyrenees Ecology, where Begoña García (the professor of the doctoral student) and her lab are doing great work in montane plant ecology and citizen science.  I gave a seminar there -- this time in Spanish -- about a combination of my work with Ingrid and the work in Panama.  Had a great time there and have continued conversations about potential collaborations.

Then the week after returning I gave a similar departmental seminar in Sevilla at the EBD, but this time in English because a number of visitors to the Estacíon don't speak Spanish.  It was fun giving the same talk in the two languages just a week apart.

Once we finish the TREE manuscript, due in a couple weeks, we'll be free of big deadlines and can get back to the data papers we really want to write! 

We've had some good personal things too.   The Danes came to visit -- for less than 24 h -- and we did some touristing and eating with them, including going back to the Flamenco Museum for another spectacular show.

We continue to explore new places to tapear;  Eli really loved his first frog legs at the Sol y Sombra!

We've made a few fun new foods at home, including the spiny predatory marine snails called cañaillas (Bolinus brandaris) (ok, but not as good as other mollusks) and roast partridges (definitely will do that again).  Eli and Ingrid also had venison patties (=bambi burgers).

For those following the Bartonella saga, I've reached a great milestone.  Thursday was my last day of mycobutin, and I'll be winding down the other antibiotic, enzymes, supplements, and meds over the coming 6 weeks -- and should be completely done with treatments then!  Long haul since first symptoms from the infection in April 2014...

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