Overview of Cakeman

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Hi Folks

Interesting thread. I know this is going to sound incredibly superficial, but I really cannot think of a member of academic staff at any of the universities I have been to whom I would actually want to have a relationship with. They are all old(er than me anyway), and often quite unattractive (in terms of appearance, saying nowt about their personality and stuff, although they are often also complete cows when you get to know them).

This probably works a bit different for the ladies as generally, and I do mean very generally, women are more ok with older men, and men with younger women. I think women are less interested in looks and tend to identify other qualities (which is just as well for a lot of male lecturers I've known).

So in short I don't see anything overly wrong with it, so long as both behave in a rational manner, I just can't imagine why you would. want too.

How many job applications till you got the job?

Hi Someone 3

I applied for 7 jobs in all, 6 academic, one not. $ rejected me, I was offered interviews by the other 3, went to interview for one job, was offered it and accepted. Still don't know how I managed that, I was and still am a fairly average PhD student (thesis defence 21st of May), I had a decent but not amazing interview, and there were plenty of other applicants. My field is neurosciences, maybe this had something to do with it.

Good luck is all I can say, this seems to be what is required.


PhD Jukebox


In response to your question, I am called as such due to the super power-like, or at least reviving effect that cake has on me and my work, hence cakeman, as opposed to banana man, who was also a fine superhero. Whether I am related to cakegirl, I seriously doubt, although I do have one female relative in academia, and given that this is an anonomous forum, It is possible but highly unlikely


PhD Jukebox

A combination of Bruce Springsteen, Leonard Cohen, Lily Allen, and Country roads ( A country music compilation) got me through my PhD write up. Not listening to anything right at the moment as am working late at the new job.


How much does your supervisor actually know?

Hi folks, I'm just trying to canvas a general opinion regarding how much your supervisor actually appears to know about their chosen subject. In recent imes I havefound my old PhD supervisor to be woefully ignorant on stuff like BLAST searches, modern molecular genetics, the difference between immunohisto and cyto chemistry, and recently, I had to explain splice variants and how they are generated to her! (seriously, she even stuck her neck out and told me I had misunderstood papers based uon her misunderstanding of alternative splicing!). BTW this is at an ok 60's modern uni, so alright but not amazing academic standards are expected. I'm just thinking although everyone is human, aren't our supervisors supposed to know a bit more than this?

All opinions welcome, although I apologise for my examples being a bit biology specific

2nd authorship, any good at all?

Hi Folks

I'm coming to the end of my PhD (submission 1-2 weeks away). It looks like the best I will achieve by way of publication is 4 papers all as second author. One was a tiny bit of work I did because I'm good at a particular technique, 2 are papers of significant input (ideas and practical) but are fundamentally someone else's work. The final one is 50:50, or possibly 60:40 in my favour in terms of practical input, but my boss wants my former colleague to write it because he is in a better position than me to do so. I'm slightly peeved by this, but I'll survive and do have thesis to do/viva to mug up for.

The main question of this thread is does 2nd authorship actually count for very much? Obviously first author is great, but I don't really know after that.

Any inputs are most welcome, although my field is biosciences, so I would be especially keen to hear from anyone in that field


another break in my heart and a deep one too

Hi Someone 3

It looks to me like you are being badly advised:

Firstly, you should not essentially depend upon your supervisor for a job, or for help in that area. Your boss has no obligations to you after graduation and is probably taking that approach. Basically if he is not interested in working with you any more, stop wasteing your time on him. My supervisor never gave any advice on applications etc or anything, I don't think this is especially uncommon.

Secondly, don't not apply for jobs if your supervisors says so. If you like the look of a job, even if it is in another field, why not apply, and try to outline why some of your experience may be relevant, you have nothing to lose by applying.

Thirdly, don't get down about it being a difficult time to apply. There are jobs out there still, and as long as you are prepared to apply and make a decent effort with your applications, and are not too bothered about where you go, you should at least get the odd interview.

finally, try Jobs.ac.uk if you did not already know about this website.

Good luck

A question about evolution

Hi Jimkim65

Although i'm no evolutionary biologist, I am a biologist and may be able to shed some light upon an intrigueing question.

It is thought that when the earth was young (I use the term relatively) our atmosphere may have been somewhat different, in that it was, we think, rich in ammonia, methane, and hydrogen. In the presence of water, and a spark (Lightening) it was found that amino acids, the building blocks of life can be created.

When re-created in a laboratory by Stanley Miller in the 1950's, it was found that these conditions created the building blocks of life, namely amino acids. (Johnson AP, Cleaves HJ, Dworkin JP, Glavin DP, Lazcano A, Bada JL (2008). "The Miller Volcanic Spark Discharge Experiment". Science 322 (5900): 404).

Hence the chemical building blocks of life are present, but, where does it all start, was it the chicken or the egg? (or protein or nucleotide for the biologists) etc. My best guess is that these early reactions were somehow able to generate nucleotides of some sort in a sequence, possibly catalytic mRNA or ribozymes, from which basic proteins may have been created given the availability of amino acids (there is some ev idence for catalytic RNA). Then it would seem that over millions of years, natural selection etc did the rest.

The fact that prokaryotes, the simplest life forms do not have a distinct nucleus containing genetic material would support this notion loosely as it would seem that genetic material was originally quite a crude thing, i.e a few nucleotides strung together.

I appreciate some of this may not make perfect sense to a GCSE biologist, feel free to PM me about any of this stuff, or disagree, it's just a theory I happen to believe in.

Guilty Pleasures?

My latest one.... Playing Farmville! started in that dead period between christmas and new year, Just made level 22 today.................oh dear

Referencing very recent journal articles

Hi folks

Just a quick question, I'm expecting to submit my thesis quite soon, and have been looking at very recently published articles that support what i'm doing.

I'm wanting to reference these articles, although a number are published on pubmed before they are in hard copy, and therefore don't have page numbers etc. On pubmed, these simply say epub ahead of print, how do I allow for this in my thesis?. At the moment I've simply put epub ahead of print as well.

All responses welcome


Confessions of a PhD student...

Seeing as this is anonymous, I shall disclose a list of my guilty pleasures, in no particular order, in the hope that heaven may judge me somewhat better for it (not)

1. I like listening to country music

2. I frequently enjoy the smell of my own flatulence

3. I have been known to fancy my friends girlfriends, on more than one occasion

4. I enjoy watching Arsenal

5. I regularly keep an eye out for attractive young female undergraduates in practical classes I happen to help out in, although i do feel bad afterwards, and don't think it affects the quality of my teaching

6. I would'nt reveal any of this without full anonymity

help Ii need some info so I can blag something in a job interview...

Hi Eska

One fairly recent and very big clinical trial I'm familiar with is the use of Memantine as a neuroprotectant in the pathogenesis of glaucoma.

It was an enormous multicentre trial, comparing memantine with currently available glaucoma medications, it did'nt work (and cost allergan an enormous amount of cash, approx 80 million dollars I think), we think this is due to poorly defined clinical endpoints i.e. what you clarify as the appropriate amount of visual field deterioration, and because some of the in-vitro studies have been exposed as being quite flawed.

Key features of clinical trials: Double blindness with randomised controls (so investigators and patients don't know who is in control and treatment groups), Similar baseline characteristics in control vs treatment groups (i.e similar mean age, gender, severity of disease symptoms), appropriate recruitment to trials (so statistical power is sufficiently high), Clearly defined endpoints (for example, in oncology this would normally be percentage five year survival if for life threatening cancers, for the memantine trial I think it was visual field deterioration, over a certain time period).

If you want more info, feel free to send me a message via the website


How can you visualise BrdU by using DAB?

Hi Seriousperson

Looks to me like you have 2 possible options

Use ECL as a substrate for HRP, commonly used for detection in western blotting applications, for example

Or, you could go for a different secondary, say alkaline phosphatases, a variet of detection substrates are available using this system, so you could try this, just google "alkaline phosphate substrates" and see what you get

Hope this helps you out, cakeman

Belle de Jour is a Post doc !?!

Sod 300quid an hour, I'd do it for 30 if the lady was attractive!, might struggle at all otherwise mind.

Hasn't belle de jour heard of jobseekers allowance?

I'm pretty sure this is not the only option available to impoverished late stage PhD student's. As long as you lead a sensible-ish lifestyle and have tried to save a bit each month, most people can normally scrape by for 6 or so months being poor whilst they find a job.

Perhaps there is an element of wanting to, or accepting prostitution amongst the people doing it, I don't know. I do think for many, but not all that this is a choice, not something they are forced into. As hourly rates go it certainly beats post docing hands down!

Looking for a Lawyer

Hi Pepita

Congratulations on finishing your PhD

If you think you have a case against your supervisor and others at the university, I advise you to pursue it. However, you will probably only get anywhere should you have hard evidence of bullying e.g. email transcripts and suchlike. If it comes down to your word against someone else's I don't think your likely to get very far, especially given the amount of arse covering that goes on in academia. On the other hand, if you have solid evidence, sue the hind legs of them!, I'm sure you won't have been their only victim.