Book Review: When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

This is the first book that I’ve read by Daniel Pink, but it likely won’t be the last. I read it because I’m interested in being efficient and effective using time-management techniques and the book certainly has much to offer in this area. It also contains lots of other interesting insights into human relationships with time. The book is divided into three parts and each has its own focus. The first part focuses on daily…

Continue reading


Why I will continue to use the title Dr.

I was a bit annoyed yesterday when the decision by the Globe and Mail to update their style guide came across my Twitter feed. I get to be an associate professor of biology upon first reference in an article, but become Ms. McDonald on second reference. I guess this is how the Canadian Press have been doing things for years, but I find it irritating and I’m going to tell you why. I’m a professional…

Continue reading


DoctorAl Digest #26

Word from a psychologist that the productivity advice to “Eat your frog” first thing in the morning doesn’t match well with how human brains actually function. An amusing piece from the journal Inorganic Chemistry on “The Five Stages of Rejection” when it comes to submitting a journal manuscript for peer-reviewed publication. Equity, inclusion, and diversity requires that work must be assigned fairly. A great article in Harvard Business Review. The Special Challenges of Being Both…

Continue reading


Service to Professional Societies

I have recently finished a fair amount of service to two professional scientific societies and wanted to write a post about what I have found valuable and challenging about these experiences. I did my first stint of professional society service as a post-doctoral fellow and represented both students and post-docs on the executive of that society. I was a valuable experience and similar in many ways to the various student governments and committees that I’d…

Continue reading


Reflections on Teaching a Three Hour Evening Class for the First Time

Since I’ve started teaching courses at the university level, the classes that I have taught have been 1 hour timeslots three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, or 1.5 hour slots on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. This semester I taught a 3 hour class for the first time and it was on a Monday evening. I think that when dealing with timeslots that you haven’t…

Continue reading


Personal Productivity: Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

At my house we are pretty good about eating dinners at home together every night. My partner and I decided early on that we were going to make it a priority and it allows us all to chat over a meal and find out what is going on in everyone else’s lives. My kids have activities several nights a week, but thus far we have still managed to do this by eating earlier on some…

Continue reading


Doctor Al Digest #25

Poster by Dr. Tristan Long Some great articles in the past few weeks… The Feminism of Black Panther vs. Wonder Woman We are All for Diversity, but… How Faculty hiring committees reproduce whiteness and practical suggestions for how they can change Addressing issues related to child-care at conferences Pushing back against the quick turnaround to serve as a reviewer for journal manuscripts How some relationships are ending because of the #metoo moment and current politics, and it’s…

Continue reading


Angry Women

Today is International Women’s Day and it seems timely to publish something about a topic that I’ve been wrestling with all of my life, but that I’ve been thinking about deeply for a few weeks. Doing science as a woman is tricky business due to the societal and cultural constraints on what constitutes appropriate and professional behaviour in academic settings. These rules aren’t written down anywhere and often the only way that you find out…

Continue reading


Career Benefits of Blogging as a Faculty Member

I’ve been on Twitter and blogging since the fall of 2013. When I first started, I didn’t really have any goals other than that I wanted to help early career scientists navigate academia and I wanted to become part of some communities that I didn’t have access to in my daily life. Both of these activities have led to some unexpected positive outcomes. I would say that the top benefit has been increased visibility of…

Continue reading


Mitochondria are hot!

There have been some very interesting developments in the field of mitochondrial biology in the past two months. This is very exciting for me as someone who works on bioenergetics in a variety of organisms. The first paper made quite a splash in the community when it came out because the findings suggest that mitochondria operate at much higher temperatures than were previously believed. The paper by Chrétien et al. 2018 appears in PLOS and…

Continue reading