Always an adventure

It is so nice to be able to work with this view. As I mentioned, there are so many people in the lab, it does occasionally feel quite crowded. Luckily there is a mezzanine with work stations between each floor of the building. It is so refreshing to just be able to sit partially outside and work while feeling the lovely breeze.

Lab stuff
Experiments have finally started! There were a few set backs: reagents still being in the US, fluorescent dyes not being fluorescent anymore… but we got there in the end. It can be really trying (but rewarding) to set up a brand new protocol in a lab where you are the sole expert and everyone you look to for advice (your own experts) is 5.5 hours behind you. After a few panicked emails to my supervisor and labmates in Edinburgh, I think that everything has been set up. The cells look happy, the microscope works and the results are starting to come in- what they look like I have no idea, analysis is the next step.
In my last post, I mentioned that perhaps a lab is a lab is a lab is not true. Even if you were to replicate the exact same experiments here and in Edinburgh there would be some things out with your control. For instance, room temperature. Summer has arrived in Bangalore, it is 37C everyday. Despite the air conditioning, room temperature is definitely warmer than it is in Edinburgh. Although not all labs are the same, I firmly believe that a microscope is a microscope is a microscope (well at least the epifluorescence one I use). When I am in that dark imaging room, listening to my podcasts and staring intently at the computer screen trying to detect subtle changes in fluorescence, I completely forget where I am. I could be back in my imaging room in Edinburgh. It is nice to have some familiarity so far away from home.

Holi in Hampi
I’ve been taking advantage of being in India to explore some of the surrounding areas. My friend lent me Lonely Planet’s Short Escapes from Bengaluru and the other students from Edinburgh and I are making our way through them. At the beginning of March we went to Hampi. Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with tonnes of gorgeous temple ruins. We saw all the ruins, watched an elephant get bathed in the river, climbed 575 steps to the Monkey Temple and almost lost my phone to a particularly cheeky monkey. What was really nice was that we were in Hampi during Holi, the Hindu festival of colours/ the festival of love. Holi is celebrated by throwing powdered colours at one another. Lucky for us, the colour was permanent (I am still washing green and pink out of my hair 3 weeks later!). It was an incredible experience that brought locals and tourists together. Children were sitting on our shoulders and showering everyone in colour. It was quite spectacular.

Last weekend, we headed to Mysore to rack up some #wildmiles and raise awareness for intellectual disabilities, autism and fragile X syndrome. We climbed 1000 steps to reach a temple, only to discover it was being renovated and was covered in scaffolding! Mysore is a beautiful city with an incredible palace that was lit up at night. We also visited their massive market where our senses were overwhelmed by the colours, sounds and smells, it was hectic but beautiful.

Enjoy the pictures!