Thursday, October 22, 2009

A little more of what I'm learning...thank goodness it's almost the weekend!

A little something from my note-taking today in biochem...right now it makes perfect sense, but I'm pretty sure that if I look at it again tomorrow I'll have NO idea what in the world it's talking about...

Method of action of glucagon

v Receptor on cell surface involving cAMP.

v Activates a cAMP dependent protein kinase. This causes the phosphorylation of phosphorylase kinase, which activates phosphorylase, phosphorylating the above-mentioned enzymes regulating the synthesis/breakdown of glycogen. Using this kinase increases the signal by several orders because each of the different enzymes activates a number of others further down the chain. 1 molecule of glucagon can activate 1000 phosphatase enzymes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What I'm learning

Hello everyone,

I just thought that I would drop a little, very short note of what I'm
learning in class today. So far I've had Microbiology, where we talked about respiratory tract infections (which was actually rather interesting because I'm coming down with a cold); histology, where we talked about nervous system tissues and structures (by far my favorite system), and now I'm here in immunology learning about transplantation and major histocompatibility complexes. Here's a picture from our powerpoint.

It's a naked mouse that has received a skin graft of chicken feathers....I kind of want one

Well, I should get going so that I can pay attention to what's being taught. Love you all..

Oh, PS, a helicopter just landed on the lawn directly outside of our class...just another day in Israel.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Succoth update

Once again, sorry for the lack of updating. I have no real reason except for laziness when it comes to jotting down everything that's been going on here.

Where should I start? Well, Keiko and I almost have everything working in our apartment. The only thing left is to get the gas working reliably (it worked for a couple of hours and now no longer will light our stove/oven). We did get a microwave though, so at least we can make some hot food every now and then. I've been really fortunate though because I've been a part of a lot of group meals/potluck things for the past couple of weeks, which means hot cooked food for me while I only have to bring a salad because I have no way to cook. The group meals have also been a great way to get to know some of the other people in my class as well as a random group of Israeli students who I play volleyball with every week.

Can I just say that I am so thankful that I played volleyball in high school, and still remember quite a bit of it. It has been such a great way to build bridges with so many people. There is one other guy in my class who played a lot in high school and is really good and then 2 other guys who are naturally pretty good and really devoted to coming out and playing whenever we can get a game started up. I can honestly say that I've had more fun during our 2 on 2 games than in my entire last year of playing in high school. We also randomly met a group of Israeli students who can play decently, and meet with them at least once a week to play. One girl, Adi, lives right down the street from my apartment, and has been crucial in helping us get a lot of the logistical stuff worked out with our new place.

This past week has been Succoth, the feast of booths, where many of the Israelis build sukkas (sometimes translated as booths, other times as tabernacles) outside of their homes. It is supposed to remind the Israelis of the time when they were in the wilderness dwelling in sukkas before they were allowed into the promised land. Well, because it's a week-long holiday, we had the whole week off! I spent most of the time in Beer Sheva, but also went up to Jerusalem for a couple of days and am now over in Dimona for Shabbat. While in Jerusalem, I was able to meet up with Jill (a woman from Reality--my church back in Santa Barbara who is now working in Jerusalem as a teacher at an international school) and Sally (another woman from Reality who came to visit us over Succoth). It was so amazing to get to be with a few people from home and get all caught up on what's going on back in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria...not to mention receiving a few gifts from America that we can't find very easily here (tasty vitamins, M&Ms and taco seasoning)

Hmmmm...what else? School is going well...classes are different than I expected--a lot less organized and totally based off of powerpoint. Sadly, I have learned that I have a very hard time paying attention after about 45 minutes of powerpoint and really don't learn well when that is the only thing used. The problem is that we get a print out of all of the slides and they go through the slides fairly quickly, which doesn't really give me time to take notes. The thing is, in order for me to learn something, I have to write it down, and so not taking notes is NOT helpful in the slightest. Luckily, I got a new laptop a couple of weeks ago to replace my other one that is *hopefully* being fixed at the Lenovo factory in Tel Aviv. This new one was only about $200 and small enough that it can easily be transported to and from school, and has a long enough battery life that I can make it through a 2 hour class with no problem being away from a power outlet. Now I am able to take notes by typing most of what they are saying and is on the powerpoint, which makes me pay attention and think through everything. So, the last week that we had of class was great! I actually felt like I was learning something, which was pretty much a first since I'd been here, at least as far as the medical school part goes.

Well, that's all for now. I'm gonna get some sleep before we head off to the Ramon Crater tomorrow. I'll try to get in another update tomorrow night.

shalom. im col ahava sheli (peace. with all of my love)