What time is it? Summertime!

It is a gorgeous day. So sunny and warm. Blue skies with wispy clouds and luscious (albeit a bit wet) grass. And of course, just my luck, I have to image today… The silver lining to the big fluffy cloud is that I go home to Montreal tomorrow where it is hot and sunny and proper summer!

Katherine the crab
I had a little accident and poured boiling water all down the back of my hand in April- not lab related, do not worry. This has kind of delayed all my work a little bit. The coverslips that I image are very delicate and fiddly, if you look at them funny, they crack… So it was quite hard to image them while my hand was bandaged (I affectionately have been calling it the claw). I am glad to say that after 9.5 weeks of going to get the burns dressed 3 time a week, I finally no longer need to wear a bandage! The skin has finally regrown! I wish that I could say that I got all my analysis done when I realised I couldn’t do any imaging at the end of April, but if you are an avid View of George Square blog reader (and if you aren’t, I would highly recommend becoming one) you’d know that I am behind on analysis and when the claw got less swollen, I continued imaging, so I am still very behind in my analysis… On a serious note, I would like to thank everyone in the lab who helped me especially during the first few weeks when I couldn’t even fit a glove on!

Lab work
June has been very hectic! I have taken advantage of the fact that the postdoc who shares the scope with me was on holiday to image my little heart out. When I close my eyes I see cells. I think the images are burnt onto my retina. Now the next step will be do do all of the analysis, which really desperately needs to be done so I can figure out what needs to be done next. It will be done after I come back to the lab reinvigorated after my lovely 3 weeks off.

3-minute thesis
The 3-minute thesis format is taking Academia by storm. And of course my fellow second-year PhD students from the Centre for Neuroregeneration (CNR) and Centre for Integrative Physiology (CIP) could not escape the trend. Basically you have 3 minutes and a single slide to describe your work. Yes, you read that correctly:we had 180 seconds to describe our work which has taken up the vast majority of the the last 2-years of our lives! Friday, we had to present in the lecture theatre in front of students, postdocs, PIs and heads of centres… gulp. This is what second-year students now have to do (when we were in first year we had to go through the whole 8-month report if you can remember that (again, if not please become an avid reader so you don’t miss out on these important milestones in my PhD 🙂 )). I suppose it is an efficient way to go through 16 student presentations in 2 hours. What no one mentioned to us while we prepared for this symposium, was that there was actually going to be a contest with a prize for the presenter with the best 3-minute thesis. I am quite glad that they didn’t tell us about it, but it did add to my nervousness right before my presentation. And guess what, I was a runner-up for best presentation! Yay me! In all seriousness, I am just glad that it is over, I think this presentation actually stressed me out more than my 8-month report and first year meeting.

On that happy note, I am off to do some imaging. The sooner I start, the sooner I finish, right? Then I get to go and pack and get ready for my early flight tomorrow.


Running a little behind…

I know that this post is quite late. It has been on my to-do list for 2 weeks, but somehow lab experiments and trying to get my yearly dose of vitamin D in 14 days just took up all my time…

Lab Stuff

You know when you’re just sitting there twiddling your thumbs because you have nothing to do? And then you blink and all of a sudden you have 4 days back-to-back on the microscope? And then you blink again and you have tonnes of molecular biology experiments to do? And you slowly realise that this analysis is never going to get done? Anybody? No? Just me? 

Well that perfectly sums up my month of May. With each breath I took, the work just seemed to pile up. Maybe if I take slower, deep yoga breaths it’ll stop… I said that I didn’t know where the month of April went, well I certainly don’t know what happened to May! But although May has left me in the rearview mirror, it was thoughtful enough to leave me 50 GB of data to analyse…

Non-lab stuff

Although last month was filled with experiments and multiple days on the microscope- I set a new personal record: 96 cells imaged in a week (!)- it was also a month filled with fun little activities that filled my time when I did finally part with my scope at the end of the day. We had our first BBQ on the Meadows. It was so nice. Because there are so few days of gorgeous weather, when it gets above 15 C and it is not raining, everyone flocks to the Meadows with disposable barbecues (just an aluminum pan with some charcoal) ready to have an epic grilled feast. We definitely went all out for our barbecue, with veggie skewers, lamb kebabs, spicy chipotle burgers and cheesy buns. Another fun event last month was the Eurovision Song Contest finale. My friend had the best party to celebrate. It was fancy dress with each guest dressing up as one of the finalist countries. She made cupcakes and brownies topped with edible flag cake-toppers of all the participating countries! Although I had never actively followed Eurovision in the past, this party may have made me a convert! 

Now I am off to enjoy the gorgeous Edinburgh weather and to start topping up on next year’s dose of vitamin D!