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My First Year In San Francisco: An Update!  
User currently offlineSmithAir747 From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 1622 posts, RR: 28
Posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2038 times:

As some of you (who know me) may remember, I moved to San Francisco a little over a year ago to begin my studies at UCSF (Univ. of California, San Francisco). I am pursuing a PhD in craniofacial embryology there.

I wanted to celebrate my 1st year anniversary of moving out here from Fort Wayne, IN; I arrived at my UCSF Mission Bay apartment at 8pm Friday July 20, 2007.

Since then I have successfully completed my first year of studies at UCSF.

During my first year, I completed a heavy load of lecture courses and seminars covering everything from cell biology to craniofacial embryonic development.

I was required to give a sizable number of oral presentations on papers for journal club and seminar courses. Many of my presentations were on my rare genetic craniofacial syndrome, Treacher Collins syndrome (where my facial skeletal structures did not develop properly), and the recent research on that syndrome. My syndrome is caused when a mutation in the TCOF1 gene occurs, creating a defective Treacle protein. This in turn fails to properly regulate ribosome synthesis. The domino effect from this creates a stress response in the affected cranial neural crest cells (which are supposed to form the facial skeleton); these cells commit suicide en masse. Thus the facial bones are very underdeveloped.

The most important part of my studies here at UCSF is my research. I am doing 3 laboratory rotations before I choose my dissertation lab.

My first lab rotation, which started in July 2007 and went through December, was in a cancer research lab run by a DDS/PhD professor at UCSF Medical Center (Parnassus Ave). In that lab, I took human squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells and treated them with fluorescently-labeled antibodies against certain cell structural protein filaments (keratin, etc). The images that you get under the special fluorescent microscope look like something from an alien world--a whole bunch of eerie fluorescent green lit-up cells!

My second lab rotation, which I'm doing now over the summer, is in the orthopaedic surgery research department at San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), part of UCSF. Here, I am raising chicken eggs in hypoxic (low-oxygen) conditions (in an incubator connected to a nitrogen gas supply), to see if hypoxia could impact the craniofacial development of chick embryos. So far, my hypoxic chick embryos are coming out smaller, growth-delayed, and especially, facially deformed (missing eyes, clefts, etc) compared to normal.

My upcoming third rotation, this fall, will be back at UCSF Medical Center on Parnassus Ave, and will be dealing more with craniofacial development in mice or chicks.

Besides my studies at UCSF, I am involved in many things:
1) Playing my GREEN violin at church every Sunday in accompaniment with the congregational hymn singing. I also continue to play the piano for church and other things. I have even been playing a green piano in Chinatown on a regular basis!
2) Every month, I meet with a group of artists up in San Rafael, CA, to share my artwork, and more recently, my autobiographical stories and my chapters of my upcoming autobiography, The Pancake Kid.
3) I am busy writing my autobiography The Pancake Kid, which I hope to publish in a few years.
4) Whenever I can, I go to classic car swap meets (eg, Turlock, CA). I am still hunting for my dream car--a 1978 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country "woody" station wagon, in green!
5) I am walking just about everywhere in San Francisco now!
6) I continue to explore San Francisco and find new areas I hadn't seen before!

But I have not forgotten my hometown Fort Wayne, IN. Recently I went home to visit my family there for my summer vacation. I also go every Christmas.

I am still involved in craniofacial awareness--namely, the annual Cher's Annual Family Retreat held by Children's Craniofacial Association every summer. This year, I went to Myrtle Beach, SC.

So, in a nutshell, I have had a very productive, successful first year living and studying in San Francisco!

And the adventure continues....

SmithAir747


I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAnonymousInSAN From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 111 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2023 times:

Hi Francis,

Congratulations! When do you find time to sleep? Keep up the wonderful research work and I hope this next year is just as great!

Take care...Vicky

P.S. It sounds like green is your favorite color too.  wave 


User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 2, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2023 times:

A year already. Wow.

Seems to be going well for you. Good on ya! Those oral presentations are good for you. Almost everybody could use a little more public speaking. Don't back off from that. Your studies sound daunting!

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
in San Rafael

Stop for coffee at Graffeo. Maybe I'll run into you there.

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
I am still hunting for my dream car--a 1978 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country "woody" station wagon, in green!

I had exactly such a car - for about 24 hours. It was, more or less what I wanted but I'd made a very bad deal, had buyer's remorse and took it back. They would not change the deal so I un-bought it. I think of it every time I see Clark Griswold's "family truckster"



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently onlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39693 posts, RR: 75
Reply 3, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2002 times:

Wow, a it's been 1 year already!  Wow!

Glad to hear that your studies at UCSF are going well.

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
and will be dealing more with craniofacial development in mice or chicks.

I can send a few "chicks" your way that have been bugging me and giving me headaches lately.  Silly

Just kidding!  Smile

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
4) Whenever I can, I go to classic car swap meets (eg, Turlock, CA). I am still hunting for my dream car--a 1978 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country "woody" station wagon, in green!

I am keeping my eyes open for you as well. Those are neat cars.  Cool

Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
5) I am walking just about everywhere in San Francisco now!
6) I continue to explore San Francisco and find new areas I hadn't seen before!

What ever you do, stay out of Bayshore, Hunters Point area.
That area is still pretty rough.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineVikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9776 posts, RR: 27
Reply 4, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 1964 times:
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Glad to hear your first year went well. Here's hoping the rest of your studies continue to be stimulating and enjoyable.



Although I still think you should have gone to USC.... devil   Wink



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently onlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39693 posts, RR: 75
Reply 5, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1892 times:



Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 4):
Although I still think you should have gone to USC..

You mean the University of Spoiled Children?  duck 
I always have to support public schools over the private schools.  Smile



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineVikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9776 posts, RR: 27
Reply 6, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1844 times:
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Quoting Superfly (Reply 5):
You mean the University of Spoiled Children?

Indeed I do.  Smile

Quoting Superfly (Reply 5):
I always have to support public schools over the private schools.

Long as it's not UCLA (and, at times, Berkeley), support away.  Wink



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently onlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39693 posts, RR: 75
Reply 7, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1821 times:



Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Long as it's not UCLA (and, at times, Berkeley), support away.

I'll take the 5th.
 ziplip   ziplip   ziplip 



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineSmithAir747 From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 1622 posts, RR: 28
Reply 8, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1810 times:



Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 4):
Although I still think you should have gone to USC....

I actually got offers from both USC and UCSF, and I actually interviewed at both (after flying from LHR-LAX on a BA 747, who could beat that?).

However, what killed USC for me were these factors:

1) LA is such a huge, sprawling city with very little usable public transport. It's not a walkable city, and requires a lot of driving to get around. Plus, the area around USC Medical Center (and the CCMB, Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology) was quite rough. I would have a difficult time finding housing, grocery stores and other stores nearby, and especially finding a church (that's important to me) nearby since LA is so spread out.

San Francisco is so compact and easily walkable for me; everything is close to me (and I can easily walk to church, 45 minutes one way from home). Plus the weather here in San Francisco is much more tolerable than the burning hot Los Angeles. (I must be from a cold, foggy planet!)

2) Unlike UCSF, USC was not going to offer any financial aid or support for my first 2 years there. UCSF has given me all kinds of scholarships and research grant awards, along with a (small, basic) stipend. Plus everyone at UCSF is behind me, and I've made close friends with professors and colleagues.

SmithAir747



I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
User currently offlineVikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9776 posts, RR: 27
Reply 9, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 1803 times:
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Quoting Superfly (Reply 7):
I'll take the 5th.

Lucky for me that my personal courtroom requires no evidence...so I shall judge you as guilty  Smile

Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 8):
I actually got offers from both USC and UCSF, and I actually interviewed at both (after flying from LHR-LAX on a BA 747, who could beat that?).

Yep, I remembered that you interviewed at USC, hence my mentioning it  Smile

As for your reasons for not attending USC, I don't blame you at all. LA is not for everyone (it's not even really for me, even though I live here...).

And yeah, the area around the health sciences campus/USC Medical Center does leave much to be desired.

San Francisco is a great city from my limited experiences there. Glad you're enjoying it.



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5970 posts, RR: 14
Reply 10, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1778 times:



Quoting SmithAir747 (Thread starter):
As some of you (who know me) may remember, I moved to San Francisco a little over a year ago

Is it safe to assume that you've successfully managed avoided wearing pink or rainbow shirts, and getting hit on by other guys this whole time?



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineTylerDurden From United States of America, joined May 2008, 852 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 1762 times:



Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 4):
Although I still think you should have gone to USC....

Class of 2000 here!


User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1753 times:



Quoting Superfly (Reply 5):
You mean the University of Spoiled Children?
I always have to support public schools over the private schools.

USC motto: My maid goes to UCLA.

One of my colleagues in a summer class at Cal State Long Beach was a lady from the hood who was a diversity admit at USC. I asked her what it was like there and what they know about the world outside the walls. She threw her head back and laughed heartily. When she could compose herself she said thay hadn't a freakin clue.


User currently onlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39693 posts, RR: 75
Reply 13, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 1720 times:



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 12):
USC motto: My maid goes to UCLA.

Wow. Sounds like an admission that the spoiled kids jab is true about a lot of USC students.

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 12):
a diversity admit at USC.

Wow. People use terms like that?
I knew a guy I went to high school (Pasadena High School) with a rich kid who got in to USC with a 1.7 (D+) cumulative GPA.
I knew several dumb rich kids that got in to USC since their daddies wrote large checks to USC.
What kind of admit would that be called?
All the smart kids at my high school went to UCLA, UC Berkeley, CalTech or some Ivy League University on the East Coast. The rich kids that were not smart as well as the athletes went to USC. The slackers went to Pasadena City College (PCC) and us regular folks went on to various CSU campuses.

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 10):
Is it safe to assume that you've successfully managed avoided wearing pink or rainbow shirts, and getting hit on by other guys this whole time?

I've been living here in San Francisco for 13 years an never been hit on by another man. The only time a man hit on me was just outside of Indianapolis in the very conservative town of Greenville. Me and SmithAir747 are both Indiana natives.


SmithAir747:
You made the right choice Francis!  bigthumbsup 
Glad things are working out for you very well. Shame we haven't hung out much since you've been here. I know your program keeps you busy and I've been antsy and traveling a bit over the last year.
I'll be starting school myself very soon and wont have much of a social life either. It will be an adjustment for me.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineVikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 9776 posts, RR: 27
Reply 14, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 1700 times:
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Quoting Superfly (Reply 13):
Wow. Sounds like an admission that the spoiled kids jab is true about a lot of USC students.

It is, for a fair amount of students.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 13):
I knew several dumb rich kids that got in to USC since their daddies wrote large checks to USC.
What kind of admit would that be called?
All the smart kids at my high school went to UCLA, UC Berkeley, CalTech or some Ivy League University on the East Coast. The rich kids that were not smart as well as the athletes went to USC. The slackers went to Pasadena City College (PCC) and us regular folks went on to various CSU campuses.

OK, obviously many stereotypes have their roots in truth somewhere, and the USC ones do too. But really, most people I knew at USC were just normal people, whom you would find at ANY university.

Then again, I did tend to avoid the "rich, spoiled, daddy-bought-me-my-BMW, SoCal-born-and-bred-and-never-leaving" crowd.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 13):

SmithAir747:
You made the right choice Francis!

 checkmark 

(sorry to take the thread a bit off topic....was just joking with you in my original post, SmithAir)



"Two and a Half Men" was filmed in front of a live ostrich.
User currently offlineSmithAir747 From Canada, joined Jan 2004, 1622 posts, RR: 28
Reply 15, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1689 times:



Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 10):
Is it safe to assume that you've successfully managed avoided wearing pink or rainbow shirts, and getting hit on by other guys this whole time?

Yes, I've avoided wearing any weird shirts like that! And I haven't been hit on by anyone.

But I've seen some interesting characters here. The MUNI trams are frequented by interesting people, like one guy who sang "The Star Spangled Banner" out loud on the tram, and lots of homeless people who ride it.

The most interesting character I've seen is the black "woman" I saw one day last fall whilst I was walking down Market Street to church; at first, I thought I was seeing an older black woman wearing a red sweater and a black skirt. Then "she" yelled something--in a MALE voice! Immediately I knew "she" was a cross-dressing man!

Last September, when Mom came to visit me (she flew from Fort Wayne, IN), as we were leaving UCSF Mission Bay on the T-Third MUNI line, we saw a whole bunch of young ladies with multi-colored hair hail a taxi and ride away in it. My Southern-raised, rural-Indiana-resident Mom had never seen any of this before!

I am not surprised anymore by all the weird people I see here; I even expect someday to see extraterrestrials here--this is such a diverse city!

SmithAir747



I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
User currently onlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39693 posts, RR: 75
Reply 16, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1681 times:



Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 14):
OK, obviously many stereotypes have their roots in truth somewhere, and the USC ones do too. But really, most people I knew at USC were just normal people, whom you would find at ANY university.

Then again, I did tend to avoid the "rich, spoiled, daddy-bought-me-my-BMW, SoCal-born-and-bred-and-never-leaving" crowd.

I have a cousin that went to USC and she finished recently. Yes she was rather normal.
Regardless of what people say, it's cool that you went to a respect big named University.

Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 15):
Last September, when Mom came to visit me (she flew from Fort Wayne, IN), as we were leaving UCSF Mission Bay on the T-Third MUNI line, we saw a whole bunch of young ladies with multi-colored hair hail a taxi and ride away in it. My Southern-raised, rural-Indiana-resident Mom had never seen any of this before!

I really do get a kick out of seeing the reaction from those folks visiting from Middle-America when they see our eccentrics.



Bring back the Concorde
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