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Where the heck have I been?!

posted Jul 18, 2016, 10:21 AM by Cynthia Harley

I finally updated this page after longer than I like to admit. What happened? Well, I managed to start a faculty position and have a baby all within a few months of each other (Spring/Summer 2015). Needless to say, it has been a wild wild ride and I have found myself more focused on other things. The new job is amazing and at a truly student-focused institution which is allowing me to truly hone my teaching skills. In addition to the normal first year lay-the-track-down-as-the-train-is-moving-toward-you lecture writing style-- I also dealt with the move to Metropolitan State's shiny new science facility. It was frankly like being in a brand new house, barely unpacked, and having to make a Thanksgiving dinner for 100. But, those of you who know me know that I never back down from a challenge. It was a year that nearly killed me, but I have prevailed and next year holds the promise of being even better. And in addition to surviving the teaching-- I had 4 students in the research lab this summer and their results are quite compelling. 

The baby is a wonderful ridiculous human being who somehow keeps me grounded and from taking myself too seriously all at once. Both of my current challenges have given me some amazing inspiration for new projects that I am not yet going to discuss on this forum. Sorry to have been slacking, I just had bigger fish to fry.

Sometimes it is the little things that can bring you joy...

posted Feb 10, 2014, 2:17 PM by Cynthia Harley   [ updated Feb 10, 2014, 2:17 PM ]

We have been breeding spiders for the super secret spider project and we have gotten darn good at it. Right now we have 288 baby spiders and 4 more egg cases on the way. 

Sometimes science takes what it takes

posted Dec 13, 2013, 4:08 PM by Cynthia Harley   [ updated Dec 13, 2013, 4:08 PM ]

We are in the lab later on a Friday night after a long week. We are working on getting some spiders to mate for the super secret spider project. Despite mood music and a video of fireworks, the spiders just were not that 'in' to each other. Well guys, I did all that I could. Maybe next week...........


posted Dec 5, 2013, 10:30 AM by Cynthia Harley   [ updated Dec 6, 2013, 11:43 AM ]

Today and tomorrow we get to spend the morning at 'Sunshine Preschool' teaching the students about spiders. This morning we had an absolute blast! We made spiders out of pipe cleaners, colored pictures, told spider stories, showed some great spider photos so that we could discuss their diversity, and showed off a tarantula and some wolf spiders. I cant wait until tomorrow!

Society for Neuroscience

posted Nov 3, 2013, 2:46 PM by Cynthia Harley   [ updated Nov 3, 2013, 2:46 PM ]

This year at the annual society for neuroscience meeting I am presenting two posters. Sadly they are at the same time! I will come up with a way to split my time and will post it here. Please stop by on Sunday from 8am-12am to learn about physical therapy or leech eyes!

Blueprint Earth

posted Oct 29, 2013, 5:44 AM by Cynthia Harley   [ updated Nov 1, 2013, 10:28 AM ]

I recently joined the board of Blueprint Earth. This organization is all about big picture science and proposes an unprecedented level of interdisciplinary scientific collaboration to understand our planet. Here is an article written by the organization's founder. 

This effort cannot occur without funding-- please donate, even a small amount helps. http://www.rockethub.com/34303

New issue of June

posted Oct 14, 2013, 5:17 AM by Cynthia Harley   [ updated Oct 14, 2013, 5:26 AM ]


posted Oct 8, 2013, 6:54 AM by Cynthia Harley   [ updated Oct 8, 2013, 6:54 AM ]

I love spiders. I am not afraid to admit it. They are absolutely incredible predatory insects with the coolest retina of any animal around. Their retina consists of four separate sensing layers (ours has only one). And, in some species, as they cannot move their head, their retina moves to scan the conspecific or prey. They are also capable of incredibly elaborate courtship rituals (see video below). So, when the Mescelab was joined by Anthony Auletta, our new grad student who did his undergraduate and masters work on spiders, I was all too happy to come up with a spider project. At this point, I am not going to discuss project details, but I will post a picture of one of our 52 new lab inhabitants. 

YouTube Video


posted Oct 6, 2013, 11:29 AM by Cynthia Harley   [ updated Oct 6, 2013, 11:35 AM ]

YouTube Video

I do what I love and I love what I do. While we do serious research in the lab and we work quite hard, that doesnt stop us from having fun from time to time (see the photos of the notes for the elves). I have become known for my loud laugh, crazy accents, and overall bubbliness. 

Sometimes these things manifest in the form of my joke nature documentaries. Most of those are (thankfully) not on film. However, one of them is.....At one point I even channeled my love for nature shows, cooking, and food, into a cooking video.......So why do I mention this? For folks that think that scientists are stuffy, this may dispel some myths. So I feel like it should be documented. I also feel that to truly understand the girl behind the blog, you have to understand this goofiness. So, here is the cooking video: 


The recipe is real and quite tasty. 

Stupid elves!

posted Sep 25, 2013, 1:28 PM by Cynthia Harley   [ updated Sep 25, 2013, 1:32 PM ]

Sometimes things in the lab go missing for no rhyme or reason and sometimes folks like myself get a little superstitious about what will make experiments work. This results in things like the following display:

Does this work? Well, the new sample has not gone missing. However the true value in it is purely comedic. 

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