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Stanford University School of Medicine

Life inside the lab: Stanford’s Alex Dainis vlogs the daily life of a grad student

Curious what it's like to be a scientist? Or just looking for a fun glimpse into the daily life of a Stanford graduate student in genetics? Then Alex Dainis' vlog (video blog) might be for you.

A YouTube veteran, Dainis launched her latest endeavor — currently nameless — in January. “I really missed talking to people about science… I wanted an outlet to babble about science and this was the available outlet, so I took it,” Dainis told me.

Dainis — who works in the lab of Euan Ashley, MRCP, DPhil — introduces her vlog in the video below. Produced weekly, the five- to 10-minute videos document everything from her committee meetings to her lab outfit of the day, offering viewers a brief glimpse into the life of a scientist.

“There’s a lot of amazing straight educational content about science on the internet, but there aren’t great resources available for people who think that they actually want to be a scientist, and so that’s the need I’m trying to fill in right now," she explained.

The vlog is quite different from her previous project, Bite Sci-zed, an explanatory science mini-series she started after graduating from Brandeis University with degrees in film and biology. Those videos, most shorter than five minutes long, are chock full of quirky and information-packed animations and demonstrations. They dive into the science behind every day phenomena, from why we sneeze to how caffeine works. However, those videos often took a lot of time -- as much as 20-3- hours a week -- to plan and produce. "I don't have that kind of time now," Dainis told me.

To compensate for the lack of free time afforded by graduate school, Dainis turned to vlogging. Her unscripted and informal style have proven popular: More than 22,000 people have subscribed to her channel. And thankfully for her viewers, Dainis has no plans to turn off the camera anytime soon. "I like it a lot, and I love the personal connection, and I love the different things it has allowed me to do," she said. "But I would also love to branch out into bigger documentaries… I want to talk about the science that I want to talk about.

Ultimately, Dainis plans to run a production company that creates science documentaries, enabling her viewers,  as she says in her videos, “go forth and do science.”

Previously: Becoming Doctors: A podcast featuring Stanford medical students is revived
Video courtesy of Alex Dainis

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