My P.I. is this person for me and I feel so fortunate to be a student in his lab. Sometimes I don't always have faith in myself but I know he always does. And so even when I am struggling, I often think of him and do my best to pull through. I am always very scared to disappoint him because he trusts me so much. As a young undergraduate, I have published 3 major papers in peer-reviewed journals and I will be presenting at 2 upcoming conferences at Harvard Medical School (HMS) in April '14. Our first major paper is well underway and we are aiming big for it as we tackled an unanswered 80-year old question with quantitative methods! I am happy I ended up this in the lab and I hope to do my best both in academia and research. I have a tendency to gear my full efforts towards my research simply because I like it more and it is strangely therapeutic. I suppose we all make mistakes and we have to forgive ourselves and move forward. And such is life

Congratulations Rafa!!! Dr. Rafael Yuste of Columbia University and Dr. George Church of Harvard University are featured on the cover of this month's issue of Scientific American

It is New Year’s Eve tonight in New York, New York. A mixture of events occurred in my life in 2013:

1. Most notably, I began a new relationship in college with an amazing and bright student. It took us a long time to get to that point. After numerous qualms and quarrels, we both overcame our fears and decided to take our friendship to the next level. Sadly, our relationship did not make it to 1 year. It is hard to reflect on it and not feel incredibly emotional. Without a doubt, the best part of 2013 for me was this relationship and meeting this great person. I will always treasure the great memories we had together and there were plenty of those.

2. Another great event that happened to me in 2013 was joining the laboratory I am currently in at Columbia University. It is an extremely prestigious and well-renowned lab at Columbia. When I first applied, I was extremely nervous. I thought I was aiming too high and that I would never get in. Nonetheless, I had dreamt of joining this lab and was determined to at least give it a shot. In January of 2013, I had my interview. It was such a nerve-wracking experience. I remember my heart racing the entire time and frantically memorizing bits and pieces of papers that the lab had worked on minutes before.  When the interview was coming to a close, my P.I. asked me to write the Nernst equation on a whiteboard. With a lot of luck, I actually remembered it and wrote it on the board. The interview ended with him saying “You start Monday.”

I have been in this lab for one year and I intend to continue for the remainder of my time here. It has been an incredible experience so far. Our lab is like a family and we all help each other, academically and emotionally. When my significant other and I broke up, everyone in lab was really shocked and did their best to help me (he previously came to one of our lab dinners and often picked me up after work). I always came to find chocolates and gummi bears on my lab desk . The people in lab exchanged their own break-up tales with me to help me understand that I was not alone. 

3. I began tutoring a little girl from Tokyo, Japan in English. Our lessons were so fun… that my P.I. came to tell us to be quiet once (which was not good). We had very amusing conversations, and she is such a great joy to be with. I often timed my coffee breaks to be when she got back from school, so we could fool around together. Our lab has an amazing coffee machine, by the way. I recently learned how to make cappuccinos with it. Anyway, we became very close and she is almost like a sister to me. It’s sad to think that she will be moving back to Japan at one point. I will enjoy the time I have with her now as much as I can.

So these are my new year’s resolutions:

1. Be happy

2. Be healthy

3. Publish, not perish

4. Paint more

5. Read more

6. Write more

7. Draw more

8. Fulfill Hazuki’s long “to-do” list

9. Redecorate lab desk for you and Hazuki

10. Redecorate dorm

11. Be more social

(I say this one every year, and I never do it…). Perhaps this year will be different

Best of Luck everyone! Have a happy and joyous new year!