…by Chiara / from Austria / PhD Neuroscience 2016-2019
I just came back from my week of holidays this year which I spent in the Faroe Islands. I was probably one of my best holidays ever so far, although the weather was much worse than in Scotland (can’t believe I’d ever have to say that about a place!). I am now enjoying the tropical and sunny Edinburgh after climbing mountains in hailstorms in the Faroe Islands for a week – but it was great to clear my mind and get a fresh start to lab work.
The last few months have kind of blended together because I’ve been so busy doing experiments, but I wanted to give you a quick update on what’s going on in the second half of my third year (it sounds scary, really cannot believe how quickly time has passed!)
Since I came back from the conference in Heidelberg, I continued doing some cell sorting to analyse gene expression of specific cell types after brain injury. In between, the protocol stopped working and I was unable to recover the required number of cells – for no apparent reason at the time -, so I had to invest a lot of time into troubleshooting and dissecting steps of the protocol, but I figured out what happened in the end (we had ordered our own set of some equipment instead of borrowing our neighbour lab’s set, turns out something was dodgy in our new set). Yep, this just shows that even when things are supposed to go right, they usually don’t in the lab! With that up and running again now, I am continuing to do these experiments, plus get some samples ready for RNA-seq (finally).
We recently submitted my first author paper (yay!) and it is currently under review. This is exciting but also a bit nerve-wrecking. I’m anxious to hear about the results. Usually there will be comments by the reviews to address (by providing more data=experiments), so this will most likely be what I will be working on this summer. Nonetheless, it’s a good feeling to finally have the paper sent out and under review, as we started planning the write-up last summer and everything just took quite long to get ready. Science is for the patient.
I also have exciting news to share about EUSci – our last issue was shortlisted for Best Publication of the Year by the Scottish Student Journalism Awards! I am happy that the efforts of our team of volunteer writers and editors are being recognised. Now that EUSci is also an official University Society again, I will be taking on the role of the society president for the next year which is an exciting opportunity and challenge.
As of now, I’m back to analysing some more data…