Debbie Knight

Dust bunnies fill the void in an empty research lab

In observation on April 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Her lab now stands empty.

She was not a tenured faculty member which left Dr. T quite vulnerable. Her job security (and eventually her salary) depended on her ability to support her research. She was never able to secure much grant funding – maybe little grants here and there, but nothing substantial like a NIH grant. Her research looks at some very specific proteins produced by a human viral pathogen. Perhaps it was the extremely narrow focus of her studies or that her work did not translate easily into medical science, I can’t say.

And after several years of struggling to keep her research going, the departmental chair made the tough decision to let her go.

For the moment, she has landed on her feet. She had been collaborating with another researcher, a surgeon who doesn’t have much time to devote at the research bench. And he is able to support Dr. T for a single year which has led to an unconventional working arrangement. He will be her supervisor (at least on paper) even though she has more research experience and training than he does. She will work on getting the preliminary data that they will need for grant proposal submissions. If they are unsuccessful, it is unknown what her fate will be.

So, this week was moving week.

She had professional movers lug much of her lab equipment to another building. So now all that is left is in her lab, besides dustbunnies, are an odd assortment of test tube racks, glassware, and plastic ware as well as abandoned equipment that may or may not function as they once did.

It’s a little sad to see her go. Her fiery personality definitely kept things interesting around here. But knowing that she is still doing research offers some cheer.

I wish her luck – better luck than she has had so far. And hopefully her luck will change in her new research environment.

Perhaps I should have given her a lucky bamboo plant…

  1. […] had to let three researchers go.  I’ve talked about two of them in previous posts (Dr. V and Dr. T). The third researcher (Dr. G) did not go quietly, judging by a few scathing email messages he sent […]

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