• Omar Rutledge

Update : 6/21/19

Updated: Jul 27, 2019




Well, last week I wrote a TBT post, but no update, and this week I missed Thursday, but I'm writing now. I'm thinking I will change my schedule so I publish a bi-weekly update here and the TBT every week in between. I doubt I have many of you foaming at the mouth waiting for my next post, but I do want to explain why I'm changing things up, so now you know.


The last few weeks have been...interesting. This summer I have roughly five projects going at the same time, each with their own challenges. I say roughly because there are a bunch of other things on the back burner that I should probably be doing too. Briefly, those projects are 1) finishing my MRI coil publication from work done at Stanford (still not done....more on that later in a future post), 2) getting a fear-conditioning study off the ground at MIT with the goal of working with combat vets, 3) learning therapeutic ultrasound for brain stimulation at BWH through a lab rotation, 4) working on initial stages of developing the application of the ultrasound work to humans at MGH with an ultimate goal of treating TBI non-invasively, and 5) trying to stitch together a collaboration across the country to begin a new PTSD study looking at alternative approaches to treatment for veterans. Needless to say, I've been a little busy.


While I find it very exciting that I have the opportunity right now to pursue every single interest I want, or so it seems, it really does cost me a lot of time and energy. Lately, I've been waking up at 4 or 5, getting to campus around 6, and staying until 9 or 10 at night. I had lost 10 pounds before I noticed. I do go out here and there, and I try to experience some of the nicer parts of Boston (lots of parks), but I work almost every moment in between. Sometimes I think that other people have it easier in that some work to live where it seems I live to work.


Sometimes though, I get the kind of uplifting motivation that I need by bringing science to the people. Today, I went to an expo that showcased research from all over MIT. The idea was to bring our research to K-12 educators so that they can go back to their respective schools and inspire their kids. Everyone was interested in neuroscience research. That was absolutely great! I really enjoy talking about science and having an interested audience. (I'm going to love being a professor.) The experience really brought to me a sense of pride that I haven't felt in a while. I am quite lucky to be where I am and doing what I do. Sometimes I get "lost in the sauce" and forget just how lucky I am. For all of the headache and heartache, all of the missed fun, all of the missed sleep, it becomes worth it when others benefit from that work. Today, I suppose the benefit was to inspire young people to think about the possibility of being a scientist. We are all scientists, really. We all investigate what makes us curious. We all test things out to see what's possible. Scientists just do it methodically, and then share what we find with the world. Pretty neat, I think.


Honestly, I was going to gripe about other things that happened in the past few weeks, which had gotten me down a bit, but after this expo, I'm pumped. I know it's the weekend, but I'll be working on one of my projects for certain. I really need to get that Stanford paper out; I've been working on it for more than a year. It's a new 7T MRI coil that does a few special things. When it comes out, I'll be sure to let you know.


Oh yes, one last thing: I dented the rear wheel rim of my bicycle trying to jump a curb with my road bike (still thinking I'm 20 apparently, SMH). Lesson 1: road bike wheels are made of aluminum not steel, and lesson 2: I shouldn't be trying to jump over or on anything with the bike, period. I tried using vise-grips to bend the rim back, but it's aluminum; it doesn't bend, it breaks. Trying to get somewhere faster cost me more than time. Well, instead of paying an insane amount of money for a new wheel, I went to a bike shop (Cambridge Used Bicycles, they're great), and got a used front wheel for $40, then removed all of the spokes, did the same with the rear wheel that was dented, and replaced the aluminum rim. I've never tightened spokes before, but it didn't take long to thread and tighten them so that the wheel was (nearly) perfectly balanced. I've ridden a few days on it now, and it works just like new. Wonderful! I saved $200-$300, and I learned something new. When life gives you a lemon, why not make some lemonade?


Well, it's late and that's all I've got for now. Again, I'll change the posts to bi-weekly, with stories on one week and updates on the other. Hopefully I can keep up with this new schedule. Have any questions? Want to know what I talked about at the expo? Let me know in the comments.


Happy Friday,



-Omar

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