Three months have come and gone

This is my last week in India! The past 3.5 months have really flown by! I am definitely going to miss the weather and the beautiful campus views. This is the view from the colonnade by the front of the building.

Lab work
It is fascinating how everything can go wrong in so little time. My last post was full of optimism, everything had started to work, unfortunately that did not last long (that is the reason why this post is coming so late). Let’s go by chronological order, shall we?

•First, the stimulator which I use to stimulate my cells during my live cell imaging stopped working correctly. It took us two weeks, (a few electric shocks) and multiple discussions with the Instrumentation department and Electronics department and even getting a Warner engineer out to take a look at it before we figured out what was wrong. Unfortunately one of the components had broken and cannot be fixed. A new stimulator was ordered, but it will take at least three months to arrive. Luckily my supervisor in Edinburgh could lend us one for the rest of my stay here. He promptly shipped us one which worked perfectly (for a little while…)
•Everything was working again, my cells were healthy and responding to stimulation, it was all going swimmingly until there was some kind of power surge that fried major components of the microscope, including the power supply and lamp box. No one is quite sure how this happened. The microscope engineer came in to have a look and will try to fix the components or get us new ones as they were plugged into the electrical line that should be infallible to surges.
•A fuse blew in the new stimulator from Edinburgh! Luckily it was just a fuse and once I changed it, it all worked perfectly again.

I know that I’ve had quite a bit of bad luck, but it is not all bad. I still have a functional stimulator, perfusion system and suction pump, so I moved my imaging set-up to another microscope and continued to image. And I’ve had the chance to do most of my analysis and it looks beautiful! Despite the mishaps, it looks like I’ll still have complete datasets. It has been a bit challenging, but PhD students are nothing if not resilient.

Exploring Bangalore
When I was not imaging and talking to various equipment engineers, I did have time to explore Bangalore. We visited the castle which is built in line with European architecture and is almost out of place in India. It was very pretty. The garden was planted so that there would always be different flowers in bloom. Speaking of flowers, we also went to the bustling KR Flower Market. It was beautiful. It was incredibly colourful! I have never seen so many flowers all in one place!

Discovering Munnar
Last weekend, we took a weekend trip to Munnar in Kerala. Munnar is full of tea plantations. It is so green and lush. We trekked through the tea plantation and watched a glorious sunrise. We drank lots of tea and indulged in Kerala cuisine where everything is cooked in ghee, not peanut oil, so I could eat it all. We did go during monsoon season and we got rained upon, but it was an incredible trip and I highly recommend it.


Last but not least, I would like to thank everyone in the lab for welcoming me and helping me familiarise myself with the lab and Indian culture. I would like to thank the PIs who were very helpful during the whole process. I also need to thank Instrumentation and the Electronics workshop for dealing with all the broken equipment!


Now off to enjoy my last few days!