Extralaboratory activities…

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

As we enter March we are faced with a typical Scottish Spring that cannot make its mind up which weather it wants to give us! I cycled in this morning in beautiful sunshine and cold crisp air and now it is pelting it down with rain… but this is nothing new and I suspect the next few weeks will be in a constant state of flux.

Anyway… an update… I have been busy in the lab completing work for an immune cell paper on which I am now second author (WAHOO) which has included a lot of immunohistochemical staining and imaging. After the GFP+F480 nightmare of a double, I was faced with GFP+GR1 and GFP+LY6G which in comparison were gems! It only took one run of single optimisations followed but one run of the double and I was blessed with beautifully stained images…that’s science for you-sometimes it works and other times it just doesn’t!!!

I am currently running my third mouse model of menstruation and just yesterday started training in ovariectomy- surgical removal of the ovary, which went well although I think some more supervised practise will be necessary. I am hoping to take the tissues from this run for some Flow Cytometry analysis and FACS to allow me to set up some in vitro cellular studies which should be exciting, watch this space.

Outside of the laboratory my science life has been very busy. I attended a BDhorizon Seminar which was a day long session of talks about multicolour panel design for flow cytometry and FACS lead by BDbiosciences experts. It was a really informative day which opened my eyes to the ins and outs of designing flow panels as well as showing what can be achieved by flow and how the results can be skewed if the proper optimisation is not carried out. Seeing as I am doing more flow and FACS experiments I am pleased to have a basic grasp on the fundamentals now!

I also attended another student/staff liaison committee meeting where I am the rep for the Centre for Inflammation Research and we feedback student comments on: the facilities in a particular building/room/lab; previous student event/suggestions for future student events; the quality and quantity of student provision; requests for training sessions and any other suggestions for change which would improve student life! It was a really helpful meeting and lots of issues were raised and discussed and hopefully benefits of having such a committee will begin to show. If you are reading this blog post as a PhD student working in the CIR then please don’t hesitate to get in contact should you have any concerns to raise with any of the above 😀

I have undertaken the Deanery of Clinical Science Funding Challenge 2016 which is an opportunity to apply for funds for a specific aspect of your work of up to £2500. In my case I will be applying for funds to purchase a Flow Antibody panel from Biolegend that is tailored to analyse different cell populations present in the endometrium with particular interest in pinpointing the endometrial stem/pericyte cell population: flow antibodies against CD140b(PDGFRb), CD146 (MCAM), CD31 and CD326 (Ep-CAM) in particular. I have already worked with these antibodies in the laboratory to optimise them in terms of titrations and so I hope they will see my application as a sound use of the funds available.

In other exciting conferency news I have two events in the pipeline for which I have been registering, organising flights and writing abstracts. On the 7th May I am jet-setting off to Olbia in Sardinia for a week long Immunology Summer School organised by the ENII (European Network of Immunology Institutes), where I will be immersed in a rigorous schedule of talks, presentations, posters, tutorials and workshops all the while soaking in some beautiful Italian sunshine and scenery. It will be an amazing opportunity to interact with the 149 other PhD students registered, expand my immunology knowledge and experience a new place all at once. Not only this but I have heard that the rich and famous take their Yachts to Porto Cervo (my hotel location) in the summer and so once again I am praying for a sighting of Dwayne Johnson…perhaps if I thrash around a bit in the ocean he will dive from his Yacht, Baywatch style and rescue me!!!! One can dream!!

On top of this I have the Society for Reproduction and Fertility (SRF) annual meeting from the 11-13th July down in the University of Winchester which again will be an important networking and educational experience, and another opportunity to showcase some of my work

And socially, the flat party was a huge success 😀 we have a very large guestlist and at one point in the evening (around midnight) it was a little tricky to navigate your way through to the bathroom but all in all it was fantastic fun with lots of dancing, drinking and friends…I even heard someone say that it was ‘the best student party they had ever attended’…I will log that one down as advertisement for the next one 😀 ! I went through to Glasgow to spend a sunny weekend with Andy and his family and Andy and I played a lot of tennis, I was dusting off my racket from the last time I played almost a year ago but by the end we were having some smashing rallies and games. And finally I was at home last weekend for a three day break to celebrate the third birthday of my beautiful little niece Maisie and to have a family Easter once more.. No matter how old we get we will never say no to painting egg portraits for the egg-rolling competition, searching the garden for chocolatey treats the Easter Bunny leaves for us or enjoying lovely lengthy meals together catching up on the Kirkwood news.

SO all is well here as I hope it is with you.

Thank you for reading.



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