It was a Friday night in February. I was finishing up a poster for a conference on cancer genomics I had to attend the following Monday. As I worked, I thought about the possibility of making mistakes on the data analysis.
Gingerly, I went back to the raw data and repeated the process. Highlight this portion of the data. Make sure the data is valid. Copy and paste it into the statistical software. Click this button before pressing "Enter." My eyes darted across the screen, watching every move my fingers made.
My heart breathed a sigh of relief as I discovered, after repeating the process three times, that my results were accurate. Even so, I immediately began to imagine what could happen if I did not check my work. A slip of my fingers could mean the difference between life and death for patients in the clinic.
I looked down at my hands and thought how careful they have to be. They may look small, but they can be very powerful when making discoveries that could improve--or destroy--the lives of patients.