ENII Summer School…

…by Phoebe / from the United Kingdom / PhD Tissue Repair 2013-2017

The start of this month saw me in beautiful Sardinia where I was attending the 11th ENII Summer School in Advanced Immunology for a full week. This consisted of 5 full days of work followed by one day off for a boat trip excursion to surrounding islands. Every day we woke up for breakfast between 7.30-9.45am followed by three 1 hour long lectures by guest speakers then lunch from 1-2pm. We then had 2 hours of free time to do whatever we wanted and started again at 4pm to have student presentations for 2 hours followed by tutorial sessions till dinner time at 8pm. The student poster sessions ran from 9-11pm but for the most part ran over to half past 😀 and then there was an opportunity to socialise and relax in the warm night time air 😀

Although I don’t come from an immunology background the whole week was extremely interesting and I learnt a lot from both the guest speakers and the attending students, met a whole range of people and made some really lovely friends who I hope to see again in the future. And in my free time I lay by the pool (when weather permitted), walked to the nearby Porto Cervo or explored the surrounding beaches which were all beautiful. Most of the participants thought I was crazy as I hardly wore a cardigan and was always swimming even though for the majority of the week we had cloud, wind and rain!! This made the ’Spot the Scot’ game relatively easy for them!

It was a highly enjoyable and educational week and I would thoroughly recommend it any young PhD student. It was such a great opportunity to interact with other scientists who were all keen to offer advice and guidance on my macrophage work which will really help my project going forward. And the food was absolutely amazing which always helps 😀

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When I returned I had 5 days to settle back in and tell everyone about my adventure before I had to give my RIP talk (research in progress-grim acronym). After each year of the PhD we have to give an RIP talk to update the centre on the progress of our projects and this is held in the welcome auditorium in front of anyone who wants to attend in the centre and building. It was quite a daunting thought and I spent all week getting more and more stressed and nervous but when it came around it wasn’t actually that bad and everyone seemed interested which boosted my confidence. Again another opportunity to practise my presentation skills and gain feedback on my work. The next step for me is to have a supervisor meeting with my three supervisors to discuss the next 6 months or so of work!

And outside of the lab I visited home which was wonderful especially as we were granted beautiful sunny weather- Scotland seems to have been hit by one of its rare but extremely beautiful early summer’s heatwaves and everyone is doing their best to soak up as much of it as we can- I genuinely believe the general mood is lifted when the sun it out- I certainly feel happier… perhaps a hint that I should work abroad after my PhD!!

I also hosted my last flat party with my younger brother and sister with whom I have lived for the past 3 years, in a flat in which I have been for the last 6! We are all going our separate ways which is exiting, scary and emotional so to celebrate (and before the daunting task of flat hunting looms over us) we threw one last celebratory bash to mark the end of our time together-it was great fun, time for everyone to let their hair down and of course to do a lot of singing, dancing, laughing and drinking!

And just because I haven’t had enough sun I am away on my family holiday  next week for 2 weeks in Kefalonia (greek island) which I am 100% sure will be a phenomenal trip full of fun and sun 😀 my next post will bring you piccies of that!

But until then, so long!

xxx


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