Archive for the ‘PhD stuff’ Category

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My thoughts on the GRADschool course

November 7, 2012

Having just started the 3rd year of my (3 year) PhD I’ve been thinking recently about what I want to do when I finish.  There’s one job I’m very interested in doing but I think competition will be tight so I know I need to:

a)      Make sure I know what skills I will need for the job

b)      Make sure I actually have the skills for the job

c)      Just check that there are no other jobs I would be equally happy doing

I’ve been trying to work this out for some time but every time I sit down to have a think about it, whether at home or in the office, something interrupts me.  I wasn’t making any progress at all and was getting very frustrated.  Then I heard about a postgraduate course called GRADschool that was aimed at helping postgrads with their career choices and development.

I’ve decided to write my time on this course up as a blog post because well:

1)      I’ve been trying to tell people about it but I tend to get a wee bit over enthusiastic (start waving my arms about wildly etc.) and then people start to look at me a bit strangely…

2)      I’m very much a verbal type of person so writing it down/talking to myself is one of the ways I best take in information etc.  I’m basically using it to reflect on my experience.

But hopefully this post won’t just be useful for me but will be useful for any other postgrads out there considering whether or not to go on the course.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Short blogging hiatus

May 2, 2012

That’s me up there – or at least it feels like it!

Given how busy I am at the moment, with my PhD, some public engagementy stuff and setting up the new Microbiology Twitter Journal Club (check it out here) I’m going to reduce how much blogging I am doing for a bit (hopefully no longer than 2 months).

I will still be posting links to interesting content from other blogs (like this excellent piece from Contagion on tracking live plague bacteria with bioluminescence and this fascinating post by Maryn McKenna on the long-term effects of food poisoning) but my research blogging will slow possibly to a complete stop.

However, come July when I am hopefully like this:

I shall be back!

In the meantime check out the Microbiology Twitter journal club (#microtwjc).  Even if you are not a microbiologist you can still join in (the papers will all be open access) – if you get stuck on something, just ask.  Chances are you are not the only one!

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Twitter Microbiology Journal Club #microtwjc

April 23, 2012

At the Society for General Microbiology’s Spring Conference in Dublin I attended a talk given by Natalie Silvey on Twitter Journal Club.

The Twitter Journal club (@twitjournalclub) was started in June 2011 and runs as a traditional journal club that discusses medically-related papers with the twist being it is all done by the medium of Twitter.

Having lurked at @twitjournalclub’s meetings a few times and listened to the talk at the SGM I thought it would be great if there was a microbiology journal club and I think others at the meeting thought so too. 

One month after the conference and there is no sign of one being set up so I figured I would get the ball rolling and give it a try…

Details will follow but what I really need are some willing volunteers to help me choose papers, run and moderate it.  It would also be good if people could help out putting transcripts together (I guess storify might be the easiest way of doing this?)

My plan is that we will run twice a month (edited for clarity!) as @twitjournalclub do (schedule to be decided depending on when volunteers can make it but will likely have a UK bias as that is where I am based) and ideally we would have at least a couple of moderators each time.  If there are enough people to help out it would mean that moderators would only have to be around once a month or perhaps less so it shouldn’t take over too much of our lives!  (My aim is for this to be fun and not just another work-related thing to occupy our precious time!)

If you are reading this and thinking it sounds like a good idea but you don’t have enough experience to volunteer – YOU DO!  I did barely any microbiology in my undergrad degree and I’m a second year PhD student – to be honest I feel like a bit of a fraud setting this up!  But my hope is that the volunteers are just there to steer the conversation/ask questions if it all goes a bit quiet.  Hopefully other, more experienced researchers will take part and they can help us out if we get stuck.  Hey – the worst that will happen is that we don’t understand something and so we will go away and find it out and learn something new.  Please don’t be put off helping out because of your level of experience.  ANYONE is welcome.

If you are interested and would like to help out please can you comment here/email me (link in the side bar)/talk to me on Twitter (@_zoonotica_).  It would also help if you could let me know what type of microbes you work with so I can try to make sure we have all areas covered.

For everyone else who can’t help out but would like to take part… watch this space and watch twitter #microtwjc

Images:

E Coli picture – Released into the public domain by Mattosaurus
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Diverse_e_Coli.png

Desk picture – Original picture by MZMcBride. Derivative work by Train2104.  Available at: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Less_busy_desk_red.svg?uselang=en-gb

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Conference report to come

March 27, 2012

Anyone following my twitter feed over the last few days can’t have missed the fact that I’m currently at the Society for General Microbiology’s spring conference in Dublin (#sgmdub)! In fact they may well be fed up with my constant tweeting (sorry!) But there is a reason behind it…

Last year I wrote a report on the conference as a standard blog post. This year I thought I would try something different – I’m going to (attempt to) storify it.

Now I have never actually used Storify before so this could go horribly wrong but hopefully in the end I will have something on here that brings together tweets on the talks I went to with the relevant press releases and any other bits and pieces that are related. We’ll see…

In the meantime if any of you do/have used storify and have any tips/advice please comment below 🙂

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Darn it!

July 21, 2011

Not only is there a paper out discussing the characterisation of the latest E.coli bug (see posts here, here and here) but the use of badger culling to prevent bovine tuberculosis cases in cattle is also back in the news – all stuff I want to blog about but I MIGHT ACTUALLY HAVE SOME RESULTS!!! (only taken 9 months…) so I hope you’ll understand if posts on these topics are somewhat delayed!

Also – my blogroll is still out of date but thankfully those that have moved have got links on their old pages directing the reader to their new pages. 

I’ll post on twitter as usual when the next post is up (or you can subscribe/add the RSS feed).

*skips back to lab to check on experiment*

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Notes from a conference…

April 19, 2011

Well I’m back from the Society for General Microbiology conference and I find I had a really good time: some people asked me about my poster, (I like to think that I didn’t sound like a complete idiot when answering their questions), the talks were great and Harrogate is absolutely gorgeous.

Shuna Gould was kind enough to ask me to do a write up of the conference which you can find here.

Meanwhile I’m hoping to get another paper discussion post up here asap – it is just reliant on me actually having consistent internet access for the next few days…  Fingers crossed!

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I’m off on a jaunt…

April 8, 2011

Next week I will be away at a conference and so I’m afraid I will probably not have time to post a new paper discussion on here.

I’m also presenting a poster at this conference (it will be the first time I have ever done this). The poster has just come back from the printers looking (I think) quite smart so now I just have to work out my spiel for it…

Panic!

Any tips from anyone out there on poster presentation?

(Thanks to John for making the very appropriate picture available.)