Thursday, February 26, 2009


Things have gotten a bit busy for me lately. Midterms are coming up - I finished by biochem in-class midterm and am working on the take home portion now. Also, I have an engineering biotech midterm on Tuesday and a lab report due Wednesday. Meanwhile, my PBG consulting project is heating up as we finally have our strategy and need to run it by the customer and then execute it. We have our PBG midpoint check after Spring Break. Workload for the GAPSA International Council is light for me at this point, but there are important issues we are working on - specifically, the issue of tighter restrictions on loans for international grad students. However, I still don't know what I'm doing for the summer. Need to address that as soon as midterms are over.

I'll be at home in the Bay Area for break from Friday, 3/6 to Saturday, 3/14. Let me know if you're around and want to hang out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Daily Grind (I)

Semester I at Penn is now in full swing. Here's what my routine looks like:

7:30 - Wake up
8:30 - 10 - Exercise
1 - 5 - CBE480 (Genetic Engineering) lab
11:30 - Lights out

7:30 - Wake up
9- 10:30 - Biol402 (Biochemistry)
4:30 - 7:30 CBE554(Engineering Biotech II)
11:30 - Lights out

7:30 - Wake up
8:30 - 10 - Exercise
1 - 5 - CBE480 (Genetic Engineering) lab
11:30 - Lights out

7:30 - Wake up
9 - 10:30 - Biol402 (Biochemistry)
3:30 - 4:30 - International Council, GAPSA Meeting
7:30 - 8:30 - Penn Biotech Group Consulting
11:30 - Lights out

8:30 - Wake up
9:00 - 10 - Exercise
No class

Saturday / Sunday:
9:30 - Wake up
10:00 - Exercise

Observations thus far:
  • Taking 3 classes: Biochemistry, Engineering Biotech II, and Genetic Engineering Lab.
  • Involved in 2 extracurriculars: Graduate Student Council - International Council and Penn Biotech Group Consulting Project.
  • Trying to exercise 5 days a week (everyday but Tuesday and Thursday). Not a member of a gym, just doing the bare bones: jogging by the Schukhill River, push ups, and sit ups. It's not that cold anymore so jogging outside is ok.
  • Trying to get up and go to bed at the same times from Monday - Thursday, with a little leeway from Friday - Sunday. I think going to bed early and waking up early is the key to success.
  • No classes on Friday, so this is when I work on HealthCare Volunteer and miscellaneous activities.
  • Save the chores for Saturday and Sunday: cleaning & laundry.
  • Eating at home is cheaper than eating on campus, so I'll probably shift my studying from the library to studying at home. But this month, most of my time has been in the library.
  • I don't have a TV, so in the evenings before I sleep I watch Daily Show and Colbert Report episodes on my computer.

So there you have it - my schedule for semester I at Penn. It's busy, but I'm enjoying it.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Flood-Tolerant Rice

Who says Biotechnology is just for healthcare? This article talks about a precision breeding strategy to create rice that can grow even in flood conditions. While there is no genetic engineering involved, scientists do look for the presence of a certain gene when breeding plants. Technology such as this is incredibly important for the developing world. After hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters, thousands more people die due to dehydration and starvation.

My primary interests for the last several years have been healthcare and international development / international relations. It's nice to see that biotechnology can have an effect on all of these issues.
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