Sunday, September 10, 2006

My response to Karl-Heinz

Hi Karl-Heinz,

Thanks for the follow up. Yes, I am a US citizen. I am still very much interested in preparing a [specific grant] proposal, and in working in your lab. I wasn't sure from your last email whether you think my proposed project would be appropriate. If you have other suggestions or ideas, I'm certainly open to your input. Depending on how involved you would like to be in the proposal process, I'm willing to work either directly under your guidance or independently, as you prefer.

My thought at the moment is to plan a brain-imaging study as follow up to my [Longitudinal Study], for which I will begin data gathering in November, and analysis shortly thereafter. For that reason, I think the April deadline for [specific grant] would be more practical, as it would allow me a few months of data as a base for my proposal.

I'm still hoping that I can acquire some hands-on experience in a brain-imaging lab before putting together a proposal. I got the impression that there may not be anything appropriate or available to me in your lab in the short term. Please let me know if that changes. Your work seems to be the closest to my interests, and would therefore be my first choice. In the meantime, I will pursue whatever other opportunities arise.

Let me know if an April submission would work for you. Thanks again for your encouragement and support of my research and training.

I hadn't posted them here, but we had exchanged a few more emails in August, in which I spoke of some specific ideas, and mentioned my having considered another larger grant proposal down the road. I also indicated my willingness to accept periods of uncertain funding, if there were a chance for me to fill the open post-doc that he had mentioned. He didn't take up my offer to come to his lab in the short term, but wrote:
Without hurting your feelings, [larger grant] will not work for you right now. You would need to be much more established with a minimum of two publications in peer-reviewed journals in the area that you are applying for.
I accepted the rebuke, but his note seemed rather curt and discouraging, since there was no commentary or reaction to my research ideas. I followed up with a conciliatory note, stating:
I meant not to overstep my bounds in suggesting the [larger grant], just to indicate that I'm thinking ahead. I realize if I come to your lab that I would be the apprentice, and I fully appreciate this situation.
So, I'm pleased to have received his recent missive. I had thought I had lost the chance. This would be a great opportunity for me, as his lab is focused on areas of research that mesh completely with my own interests. It is also a lab at a top-ranked East Coast school, which certainly wouldn't hurt my experience, my exposure, or my CV. Fortunately, my mother lives an easy commute from that school, and would be happy to give me a place to stay (especially as I might be able to bring the boys with me on occasion). I'm not terribly interested in a commute however, if it can be avoided. But grant cycles can take a year or more, meaning, this could be our next stop.

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