Countdown to #xBio 2014

Apr 11 2014 Published by under EB2014, Societies and Meetings

Two weeks from today I leave my home and head to glorious San Diego for Experimental Biology 2014, the annual gathering of the organizations that comprise the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, AKA FASEB. My favorite of these groups, the American Physiological Society, once again asked me to blog the meeting. I have finally gathered scheduling information and abstracts to organize my activities.

I will be attending and summarizing Saturday's session on storytelling for scientists, presented by Randy Olson. He has followed that traditional career trajectory from tenured professor to film school, and he wrote two books about scientists and communication skills (or, more accurately, lack thereof). I heard him speak at a screening of his film, Flock of Dodos, a few years back. His latest book, written with Dorie Barton and Brian Palermo, is Connection: Hollywood Storytelling Meets Critical Thinking. I am looking forward to seeing how his message has morphed over time. Obviously, I love communications, so this session is right up my alley.

Saturday also starts more traditional fare, including the Cannon Memorial Lecture. James M. Anderson of the NIH will present his talk, The Contribution of Paracellular Transport to Epithelial Homeostasis. As someone who teaches renal pathophysiology, this topic will be relevant. Look for some live tweets during this session.

Of course I will also attend and discuss the Gottschalk Award Lecture for the Renal Physiology Section on Monday afternoon. Susan Wall of Emory University will present her work on The Role of Pendrin the the Pressor Response to Aldosterone.

I have selected a number of abstracts that interest me; next week I will contact authors about coverage, either through email interviews, conversations on site, or perhaps even videos of them at their posters. See something in the program you think I should explore? Drop me a line via twitter (@phlane) or email (pascalelane [at] know the rest).

Be sure and follow me on twitter as well as @expbio, and track the official meeting hashtag (#xBio) while you're at it. You may not be gazing on San Diego harbor in the sunshine, but you can still get a feel for the science at the meeting.

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A Few Good Endocrinologists

Feb 04 2014 Published by under Opportunities

HiringMy spouse runs the section of Diabetes and Endocrinology in the Department of Internal Medicine at Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center. He has salary lines to recruit new faculty at the Assistant or Associate Professor level. They need clinician-educators and clinician-scientists. Yes, the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center is the elephant in the section, but faculty with interests in classical endocrinology would be welcome and supported.

Ads have been placed in the usual journals, but the other day my husband asked if I could spread the word with this social media thing. This from a guy who won't even open a Facebook account so he can see the photos his children post!

So help me out here. Let's show him the power of this brave new online world. If you are an endocrinologist, check out the section. If you know a potentially mobile endocrinologist, send them the information. Let's get the word out and fill these positions so I don't have to listen to him about this thing anymore!!!

Inquiries can be addressed to him via email. That can be found on the section page via the first link above.

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Why I Will Be There: #Scio14

Nov 15 2013 Published by under [Information&Communication]

Thursday I did something I have never done before; I sat at my computer waiting for 2:00 pm CST when I could start clicking the link for Science Online Together 2014. All went well for me, and I will be returning to Raleigh in February for another round of the unconference.

Some have recently made clear their intentions to not be at the upcoming gathering (see here and here). Several factors entered into my alternate decision.

I came to Science Online at a different point in my journey from many others. I had scaled the rarified heights of academia to become a tenured full professor. As I embarked on a new journey, to create a news magazine for the American Society of Nephrology, I needed to learn about new-fangled things like blogging and Facebook and Twitter. Science Online 2011, my virgin year, gave me insights into the interactions possible between academic and popular media, as well as the potential interplay of Web 2.0 content and the dead tree media of my youth. That was the last really "small" Science Online, with our venue at Sigma Xi bursting with energy. I felt like I met most of the attendees at some point in time, and I learned a lot that has been put to work in my professional life. Sessions on narrative structure and writing tools have enriched my work as well. I now give talks to faculty about ways to get writing done, much of which is information intially gathered via Science Online sessions. I have recruited several articles for ASN Kidney News from Science Online participants. The magazine also hires journalists for events, so some of these are paying gigs for the freelancers in the crowd!

I also have a guilty secret. One of the reasons I love academic medicine is my love of writing. Had I not been a doctor, I likely would have majored in English and ultimately gone on to an advanced writing degree of some sort. Most academics do not understand this attitude; they hate the writing, even while acknowledging its role in their success. Attending Science Online was like visiting the Mother Ship. All of these people who liked science and writing existed! I was not alone! I also love it now when my husband likes a book, and I can say I have met the author.

Like all meetings, Science Online is not just about work. Evenings include a lot of chatting and networking (and often drinking), just like those at my professional meetings. If anything, I attend more sessions at Science Online than at "real science" meetings, simply because the unconference venue is not adjacent to the hotel. Once you are there, you may as well be in a discussion session since you can't run back to your room and "work on your paper" (AKA chill out with Diet Coke and a novel or daytime TV).

This will be my fourth Science Online, and I see the meeting at a crossroads. First, the venue (North Carolina State University McKimmon Center) and participants expanded in 2012 and 2013. Many of these participants remain unfamiliar to me; the meeting has already crossed the "intimacy" line (and not in the slimey sense of the word; you know what I'm talking about). Also, last year the informal organizational group became a real entity with a dot-com web site. Spin-off conferences, in a variety of locales and on selected topics, sprung up in 2013 as well. The people and concept of Science Online are evolving, and growing pains are inevitable. Will Science Online become a more formal organization with a bigger, more professional conference? Or will it step back and downsize into several smaller gatherings in an attempt to maintain the "community" feel?

I do not know which way things will go, but I plan to make my opinions known. If things proceed in a direction I do not like, I may be writing one of those "Why I'm Not" posts next year. In the meantime, I know I have achieved things I would not have without the Science Online experience. I will be there in 2014, for the learning and the party - just like every other meeting I attend.

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What I Am Reading: MDs Online

Jun 06 2013 Published by under What I'm Reading

Click for Amazon

Right now, you are reading a blog. You obviously know something about the online world. You probably think of Web 2.0 as a generally friendly and useful place.

Your doctor probably thinks of it like those historic maps: "Here be monsters."

Enter this book by Kevin Pho, of KevinMD fame. His recent book provides a primer on the online landscape for medical practitioners. He outlines  the way patients use the internet and why it matters to healthcare providers. He reviews the usual social media platforms with their potential for good and evil. He also addresses reputation management for search engines; if you get your story out there it will rise to the top and trump what others may say.

For someone who is fluent in Web 2.0, the most interesting section dealt with various physician rating sites. He goes through a dozen of sites and outlines how you can monitor what your patients say. On most sites, physicians can see their information freely. I still haven't gone there; I mean, I have barely had time to write on this blog.

If you are reading this post, you probably do not need to read this book. You may know someone who could use this information, though.


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Social Saturday: LinkedIn Announcements

Sep 29 2012 Published by under [Information&Communication]

LinkedIn can be a great place to announce meetings or other events that are professional in nature. You may want to make sure your regular contacts find out, but you also want to attract new interested parties. Yes, Facebook has more members, but many of them are engrossed in Farmvillle II and may not be able to participate.

I prepared a little how-to video. Please feel free to critique it below. I am always looking for things I can teach my colleagues about using interactive web tools!

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Tweeting Congress

Sep 20 2012 Published by under Politics

Today I received a most interesting email request:

Click to enlarge

Usually these advocacy requests take us to CapWiz or other sites that let you enter your zip code and send an email to your representatives.

This is the first time I have been asked to contact congress critters via twitter. It helps that the issue can be summarized succinctly. Hashtags are pretty easy to count as well.

As of writing this post, I found 43 tweets using #sequestration that I have Storified.

How about it? Will you join in on Twitter, or do you think old school technology would be more effective?

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Like Sliding Down a Rainbow to Kittentown

Jun 01 2012 Published by under [Information&Communication]

Easy does not describe my day. Bizarre and frantic, but not "as easy as sliding down a rainbow to kittentown."

The boring social network

Posting here looked like it would not happen, but I found something I have to share. Seems LinkedIn provided the surprise hit of the All Things Digital - D10 conference.

This video didn't hurt:

Seriously, they should start marketing that platypus. S/he made my frantic Friday pause for a blog and a smile. What more do I want from my social media?

Oh, I tried getting directions to Kittentown from my iPhone Maps app, but it could not be found. Maybe Siri will know...

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Dear Mr. Zuckerberg

First, congratulations on marrying a doctor! Not only is she smart and beautiful, she has the good taste to pursue a career in pediatrics. I'm glad she inspired you to put organ donor status on Facebook; the surge in folks signing up with their states has been amazing. Organ donation does wonderful things for people, including my patients.

Now I would like you to ask her about something even more miraculous: immunization. As Priscilla trains in pediatrics, she will learn about disorders that used to kill and cripple children. She will see first-hand what some of these diseases can do when parents opt out of the shots. These diseases wreak havoc; that's why we developed those pesky jabs!

Please consider promoting immunizations on Facebook. The internet contains so much bad information about childhood shots, most of it untrue. Perhaps the social network can help make the world a safer place.

By the way, I would love to tell your spouse about the joys of a career in Pediatric Nephrology. If the joy of transplantation thrills her, she should certainly consider devoting her life to kidneys, just like me!



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Outcomes, Not Tools

May 17 2012 Published by under [Information&Communication]

Earlier I wrote about my time at the meeting of Women Executives in Science & Healthcare. We do have and welcome male members, but the vast majority of this group are like me, middle-aged women who have achieved a leadership position in science or healthcare (including hospital management, academic medicine and dentistry, biotech companies, PHARMA - you get the picture).

In short, not the most "online" group in the world.

The earlier post included a Storify summary of a presentation by Kevin Knebl, a networking guru. He walked the group through LinkedIn, and the participants ate it up. He coached them through their fear.

Aside from the nuts-and-bolts of the networking site, he had one major message: don't focus on the tool (social media); work on the outcome (networking).

LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and others are just new ways to connect to other human beings, something people have done since the dawn of time. Yes, it makes us more visible to others, but it also widens our networks. These networks are merely new tools, not a mysterious new process or world. My own husband sees them wasting time, but I see them as a valuable extension of what I need to do anyway.

Since that message seems to escape a lot of folks in my demographic (not just the one I married), I figured it could use repeating here.

And if you have a techno-phobic group you want to embrace social media, then Kevin may be the guy to help you do this task. He certainly worked for WESH.

If you want to learn how to get started with LinkedIn, click here for my introduction to the service.

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#EB2012 #apsComm: Using New Communication Tools

Apr 22 2012 Published by under [Information&Communication], EB2012 Meeting

Yesterday, April 21, I had the pleasure of serving on a panel at Experimental Biology discussing the use of blogs and other social media to do public outreach. Yes, I got to be the old lady on the stage with Dr. Isis, Danielle Lee, and Jason Goldman at the session moderated by James Hicks. A good time was had by all (although Isis got a bit sweaty in her headdress replete with golden cobra) as we pontificated on our own uses of the brave new world of the internet. By unanimous request of the audience (OK, more like there were no objections) we have each agreed to share our slides on a number of platforms. I am also placing mine here.

Thus far many other sessions have addressed the use of these relatively new tools for communication. At their heart, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs merely provide the latest pigment to spread on cave walls. Since the dawn of time humans have desired to tell their stories; these new media let us do it more widely and permanently than ever before.

The Animal Care and Experimentation Committee provided a Toolkit for Public Outreach (#apsACE) that addressed the need for transparency and engagement, rather than the bunker mentality that has prevailed at most institutions. Even this morning in accepting the Claude Bernard award, William Galey mentioned all the education resources available online. For today's students, access to information is not a problem. However, we must make sure that they learn to evaluate the reliability of information and sources before they use them in critical applications like patient care.

I ended my slides with a still from the movie Meet Me in Saint Louis. In its early scenes, a suitor calls the eldest sister, Rose, on that new-fangled invention, the telephone. A prolonged discussion ensues over whether or not a respectable girl should accept a proposal via an "invention". Similar attitudes toward the phone can be seen in the first season of Downton Abbey. All of the technology we use today was once considered radical, experimental, and unnecessary (I can remember when email elicited similar reactions to those about the phone). Social media will soon be just how we communicate, and we will move onto sessions on other cutting-edge topics, like flying cars or Star Trek transporter physiology.

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