Science of SOLS

Exploring the World of Life Sciences at UNLV

Finishing Up – What’s Left at the End of Graduate School?

Author for this post: Travis Parsons (Ph.D. Candidate)

This post is a follow up to my earlier post, What a typical graduate career in the UNLV School of Life Sciences looks like.

So, you are finally wrapping up your final experiments and preparing to be “ABD”, or “all but dissertation” – But what really comes next?

Continue reading “Finishing Up – What’s Left at the End of Graduate School?”

What a typical graduate career in the UNLV School of Life Sciences looks like

Author for this post: Travis Parsons (Ph.D. Candidate)

Are you curious about pursuing a Ph.D. in the School of Life Sciences here at UNLV? If so, this is the post for you! A lot of people don’t know what to expect with regard to starting a graduate program. This article is meant to give you a very brief overview of what to expect when starting a new graduate career.

Continue reading “What a typical graduate career in the UNLV School of Life Sciences looks like”

BIOS Hike #4 11.9.2017: Rainbow Springs, Nevada.

Author for this post: Kit C. Knight (Ph.D. Candidate)

Usually, I walk from the Mountain Springs Saloon onto the road that leads to Rainbow Springs, but William offered to take his new pickup truck to drive us closer to the gate. I was excited as this road is truly for 4X4s which brought back memories of when I was a young man behind the wheel of my first heady 4X4. Almost immediately, Ravens (Corvus corax) greeted us from the sky, ka-ing and squawking. Image result for Picture of raven free

Continue reading “BIOS Hike #4 11.9.2017: Rainbow Springs, Nevada.”

The ASCB-KGI Biotech Course

Author for this post: Travis Parsons (Ph.D. Candidate)

Last year I was fortunate to be selected to attend a special week-long course jointly offered by The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and Keck Graduate Institute (KGI). As this years applications are about to open up (February), I thought it would be a great time to recap my experience at the course in case anyone is interested in applying.

This course was definitely one of my favorite experiences in my entire graduate career. Essentially, you spend a week in Southern California at the Claremont Colleges campus working with other science graduate students, post-docs, and faculty to learn about the biotech industry, how it works, and how to pursue employment in the industry.

Course attendees and organizers outside of KGI  (Photo: Jennifer Markovski).

Continue reading “The ASCB-KGI Biotech Course”

2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Author for this post: Travis Parsons (Ph.D. Candidate)

Nobel Prize

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was just awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young, three Drosophila (Fruit Fly) researchers who discovered circadian rhythms!

Read more here:

BIOS Hike #3 Pabco Trailhead 2.25.2017

Author for this post: Kit C. Knight (Ph.D. Candidate)


 The morning was crisp without wind and the sky was full of sound. Immediately, White-crowned (Zonotrichia leucophrys) and American Tree (Spizelloides arborea) Sparrows caught my ear. Bird watching, or birding as it’s colloquially known, becomes a full sensory experience to gather as many identifying characteristics about each bird to get a correct identification. Upon arrival, American Coots (Fulica americana) greeted us at the flow regulation (weir) dam. Coots, funny little birds that wiggle their dimacular (two spots) rumps to attract females, are not ducks. These birds live in similar habitat as ducks, but are more different that Humans and Monkeys as they do not have webbed feet.american-coot
Crossing the weir dam is a little unnerving at first due to the rushing water below your feet, but once you feel the stability of the concrete, it’s easy. weir-crossing
A Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) flew overhead looking for unsuspecting Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura).

Continue reading “BIOS Hike #3 Pabco Trailhead 2.25.2017”

Worthwhile Problems

Author for this post: Travis Parsons (Ph.D. Candidate)

The following excerpt of writing is from a letter that the famous Nobel Prize-winning Richard Feynman wrote to a student who felt that the area he was studying was not a worthwhile or significant area of research. It is a powerful message to everyone working through graduate school: Continue reading “Worthwhile Problems”

Choosing a University and a Lab for Graduate School (And How to Survive There)

Author for this post: Travis Parsons (Ph.D. Candidate)

Graduate school is both an arduous journey and a remarkable, unforgettable experience. There are times throughout where every Ph.D. or M.S. student grinds to a halt and questions what they are doing with their life and where they are going. This is why it can be so difficult for young students finishing their college careers to get a consistent opinion from current graduate students on whether this long path of study is right for them. Continue reading “Choosing a University and a Lab for Graduate School (And How to Survive There)”

BIOS Hike #2 4.23.2016: Pabco Trailhead

Author for this post: Kit C. Knight (Ph.D. Student)

The breeze was cool and the birds stayed aloft in it. Getting out of the car at the Pabco trailhead, which is along the Las Vegas wash, was exciting. The sound of flowing water is a whisper the Mojave Desert rarely makes. Crossing the Las Vegas wash was a hop, skip, and a jump along the cement blocks that made up the Pabco weir and looking at the flow I could tell that it was at a higher level than the last time I was here. On the other side, there were clear signs of water flowing out of its main channel, shown by mud. The light colored mud was a beautiful canvas showing the recent animal activity. Raccoons had been there catching and eating fish. Doth my eye deceive me? Had a raccoon been eating a Plecostomus (Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus)? Then, I saw a live fish, native to Venezuela, munching on algae. These fish reach lengths of more than a foot, too big for many aquaria, and I assume that a few honest-intentioned pet owners let a few go into the wash resulting in an alien population. It is to be seen what effect this species has on the native fish in the wash. Continue reading “BIOS Hike #2 4.23.2016: Pabco Trailhead”

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