I’ve agreed to change my primary focus for my PhD project. Instead of developing the Drosophila gut microbiome as a model system to study the interaction of microbial communities with their environments/hosts, I’m going to do something else. So much for having a year’s head start on my dissertation research. Oh well – I’m sure it’ll be for the best. And, it makes sense that if I’m going to remain employed at the JGI, that my PhD project should be related to DOE/JGI programs. I still want to do that “Drosophila project” though. Jonathan’s still interested in doing it, but we need to write a grant before we do much (any?) more. I think I’ll propose a meeting with Deborah and/or Artyom. Maybe we can all write the grant together.

I’m also working on this simulated environmental sample. That’s coming along well, but the thing that I like best about it is that it’ll have a small work:impact ratio. Make a few libraries, write a nice paper. Not a PhD project. I do like metagenomics, though.

So, that leaves GEBA, or Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea. I must say, for the record, that I think it’s unfortunate that this particular acronym seems to be sticking. I like GEM, Genomic Encyclopedia of Microorganisms, MUCH better. Both because “gem” is easier on the ears and because I know they’re eventually going to be sequencing some small eukaryotic genomes under the GEBA umbrella.

Anyway, GEBA sounds like my nightmare version of a project: open-ended descriptive science, of which I feel no sense of ownership. And, no field work! I know that it will be good for my career and I know that there are a lot of interesting components. I just need to find my niche. Fortunately, I have chosen my advisor well, and I’m confident that we’ll figure it out.

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