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Happy New Year! (and a very belated hello!) As always, I am amazed by how quickly this holiday season passed, and I am surprised every time I have to write the date on something and find myself having to cross out 2012 and write 2013. As I write this blog post, my research year in the otolaryngology department is almost halfway over, which is very hard for me to believe. Since my last post back in October, my research project has evolved quite a bit, and I definitely feel like I have a better understanding of how to function in a lab!

I will spare the (likely boring to anyone but me) details of my project, but as a very brief summary of my main project, I am studying head and neck squamous cell carcinoma tumor growth and metastasis using a chick embryo model with the plan to test a new drug on the model to evaluate its anti-cancer effects. I’m currently completing a grant proposal to try to receive some funding for this project. I’ve never had to write a grant before, and I have a new-found respect for researchers who write many of these a year, because they are very complicated and time-consuming! It really is a useful skill to learn though, especially since I will likely pursue an academic career, which I keep reminding myself when I feel a little overwhelmed by the work still left to be done on it!

In addition to my time in the lab, I’ve had the opportunity to shadow one of the pediatric otolaryngologists a few times in his clinic and in the operating room. This has been a GREAT experience, because I’ve definitely missed the clinical and teaching aspects of medicine these past few months, and it was exciting to get to see patients and operations once again. While I’m not ready for my research year to be over quite yet, these clinical experiences have made me look forward to jumping back into my M4 year in August.

Snow-covered marina in my hometown of Guilford, CT

Outside of the lab and hospital, I’ve had plenty of time to relax and enjoy Ann Arbor and beyond. I made two fall trips to the Upper Peninsula to visit my aunts, uncles, and cousins, which were both a lot of fun (though cold!) For the holidays, I went home to Connecticut and enjoyed two great, albeit nonstop, weeks with my family and friends from high school and college, which included two trips to New York City and a drive down to Philadelphia to visit my sister. Now I’m back in snowy Ann Arbor and ready to get back into the grind of work.

Football season is sadly over (and even sadder, ended with a loss in our New Year’s Day bowl game), but the Michigan men’s basketball team is proving VERY fun to follow with their 15-0 start to the season and current ranking of #2 nationally! I’ve been able to go to one game so far, and am hoping to go to another this week to cheer on the Wolverines!