Here goes nothing

Hmmm it seems like George Square Gardens has undergone a major transformation this month…The reason this picture is taken at the airport is because I am off to India for a few months! (More on that follows.)

Lab work
January has been a very short month. I’ve only spent 3 weeks in the lab but they were arguably the most productive 3 weeks of my PhD. I’ve finished all the experiments for one of my thesis chapters. This was particularly important as I can now start writing up the chapter and paper to accompany it while I am waiting for my experiments to start in India.

Prepping for India
I am moving to India for a few months as part of a collaboration. We had an Indian PhD student and postdoc come to Edinburgh for 3 months this spring to learn the techniques that we routinely do in our lab. Now I am going over there to do those same experiments on their models and foster new collaborations. This is a fantastic albeit slightly scary experience. I’ve always said that the University of Edinburgh’s collaborative research is a huge asset. I am truly glad that I can take full advantage of it during my PhD.

I already moved from Canada to the UK, so I should be used to travelling across the Commonwealth countries, but this move feels different. Of course some things are the same: visa applications, the mad dash to get everything sorted out/finished before leaving… Other things are completely different. I had already been to the UK prior to moving here; I’ve never been to India, it is all new and unknown. I’ve had to get loads of immunisations (better safe than sorry) and load up on allergy medication (it is quite unfortunate that I am allergic to major components of Indian cuisine).

I suppose that a lab is a lab is a lab. Once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all, right? That should be an element of consistency to ease my nerves, because as everyone in the Hugh Robson Building can testify, I have been quite nervous leading up to this trip. I would like to thank everyone for keeping me calm and sane, for all the comforting hugs I’ve gotten and for the lovely guidebook of Bangalore.

Now I must be off to my gate. I will keep you all posted about how it is all going in India once I get there and get settled in!

December delights

I know this blog post is a few days late, we can just blame it on jet-lag or the weather. To make up for it, not only have I included a picture of George Square Gardens from December, but also a picture of the view from my bedroom here in Montreal. Isn’t the snow so fluffy and magical? I am definitely blaming it for delaying this post. 
 

Lab work

It has been a bit of a whirlwind since getting back from SfN. I had originally planned to get all of my imaging done before I went home for the holidays so that I could do data analysis during the break. So that didn’t happen… I was testing out a new imaging protocol and I just couldn’t quite get it to work properly. Although the live-cell fluorescence imaging assays that we do in our lab are relatively straightforward, there are so many little things that can ruin your timetrace acquisition. In my case, my cells were jumping in and out of focus during your 10-minute long experiment, making it practically impossible to track my fluorescent molecule. No one said science was easy. I did still manage to gather some data which I have yet to analyse. My biochemistry/ molecular biology experiments worked quite well however and all the analysis has been done for the experiments I’ve completed. Although the results weren’t what we had hypothesised (and will require tonnes of reading to make sense of them), the fact that I finally got the assay up and running and working with my different mutants definitely gives me that morale boost. You have to celebrate the small stuff in science! It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it is magical!
  

December delights

I have always loved the run-up to Christmas. Despite the lack of snow, Edinburgh definitely does its best to get everyone into the festive spirit. Between the Christmas Market on Princes St, office Christmas parties, turkey dinners, lab lunches, and departmental festive drinks in the Anatomy Museum, it is a wonder that anyone actually got anything done! The city is engulfed in Christmas lights and mulled wine spices. It is a lovely place to be! Currently, I am in Montreal. I get back to the warmer albeit wetter Edinburgh weather next week. I’ve taken advantage of my time off to do lots of yoga as to be more chilled and be able to start off this new year relaxed and peaceful (though that inner-peace will probably melt away as soon as something stops working or the lab fairy interferes). 
 

Happy 2017 everyone! May your year be filled with significant results!