Posts Tagged ‘chitchat’


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 ?


So for anyone who’s not heard the massive news on Twitter…

July 5, 2011

…my blog roll is now totally out of date!

Scientific American has a new blog network and loads of my favourite blogs have moved over to it.

I’ll be updating my blog roll asap but in the meantime you really should check it out – as well as some of the blogs I already follow there are loads of new ones that look really cool.

Happy Reading 😀


Update for April/May

May 20, 2011

So it’s been a little quiet here recently for a various reasons. 

The first was that I had a lovely holiday in the wilderness (there was no phone/internet signal!) being marched up and down hillsides by my other half.  This naturally led to me coming home and researching Lyme’s disease (because I am a true geek!) and that post should be up relatively soon.

The other reason was that I was busy stressing over writing an article for the Wellcome Trust/Guardian science writing competition.  I sincerely doubt I’ll get anywhere as there are too many amazing writers out there but I learnt a lot from it. 

A few of those things:

  1. My first draft is inevitably brain vomit.  I seem to need the vomit out of my head before I can write something coherent.  Note to self:DO NOT GIVE COPY OF BRAIN VOMIT TO FRIENDS – it is just embarrassing!
  2. Speaking of friends – mine are all far too lovely.  They were all happy to correct SPAG (spelling punctuation and grammar for those not familiar with the acronym) stuff but only two passed any critical comment on the content.
  3. Also on the topic of friends – every single person I felt brave enough to inflict my writing on has scientific training to at least A-level standard and generally higher (well except my other half, but I have been wittering on to him about the topic for ages so he probably knows the material nearly as well as me by now).  This is not ever so useful when your piece is aimed at non-scientists. 
  4. Being in a silent room is essential for organising my brain.  It also helps if there is no one else in the room as I talk aloud.  A lot.  I also pace.
  5. When I am ready to throw my laptop across the room it is probably time to put the article away for 24 hours and concentrate on something else.

 Hopefully the experience will also improve my posts on here.

Fingers crossed anyway 🙂


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!


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…


Any tips from anyone out there on poster presentation?

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


Research Update

February 16, 2011

You may or may not have seen my slightly panicky/whiney posts on twitter yesterday re the ‘big experiment’. This was the follow up from the work I did last week: last week I isolated the T cells, had a slight crisis because I had ten fold fewer than I had expected, rejigged everything and added the T cells to 96 well plates to culture. On Friday I added the (killed) bugs and yesterday I used a (magic) kit to see if they had proliferated or not.

And the results…

Well I got some… there are some significant differences… and I have absolutely no idea what they mean because we did not get what we expected!

My supervisor last night seemed v enthusiastic (to the point that everyone in the lab has been asking me about them today) and this morning he seems almost as excited and seems to have several theories about what the results show. I on the other hand don’t really have a clue!

Oh well!

In an attempt to come to grips with it today I have minimised my lab work and am instead concentrating on the graphs I produced last night (and am probably going to have to look over some cell-mediated immunology again!) Hopefully I will have a eureka moment…