Technicians Strike Back

Technicians Strike Back Thank you for your editorial of June 30.1 I am one of those research technicians you speak of, having gotten into the business 30 years ago, a refugee from a still very hostile climate in grad school (for women) with no clear job prospects at the other end and college debts. In my first years I was trained and abused by the best: the older faculty all had worked with Nobel laureates and two of the younger ones got the prize themselves. Since then, I have seen bad s

Sep 8, 2003
Kate Borland

Technicians Strike Back


Thank you for your editorial of June 30.1 I am one of those research technicians you speak of, having gotten into the business 30 years ago, a refugee from a still very hostile climate in grad school (for women) with no clear job prospects at the other end and college debts.

In my first years I was trained and abused by the best: the older faculty all had worked with Nobel laureates and two of the younger ones got the prize themselves.

Since then, I have seen bad science that I couldn't fix, but saved an awful lot of embarrassment for others, and currently almost single-handedly saved a program project. I've fought battles over data interpretation and ethics. I've got a new technique that will help neuroscience research greatly when it gets published. And I have trained more students, residents, and technicians than I can remember.

What I have left after all this is my sense of humor, some ridiculous stories, and the occasional editorial recognizing my existence.

Kate Borland
Dept. of Neurology
University of Virginia Health Systems
Charlottesville, VA
Mkb2n@virginia.edu

1. R. Gallagher, "Not mere technicians," The Scientist, 17[13]:16, June 30, 2003.

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