…by Phoebe / from the United Kingdom / PhD Tissue Repair 2013-2017
Welcome back to reality everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas break with plenty of festive food, family time and relaxation. I had a very busy holiday at home celebrating Christmas and the arrival of Santa Clause with my beautiful nieces, there are now three as my clever big sister laboured out her third daughter on the 16th of December… a beautiful little bundle called Arietty who is, may I add, my Goddaughter (very proud). I spent two weeks with my family appreciating all the comforts home has to offer and then celebrating the coming of the New Year in a way only us Kirkwoods know how… with a huge party including a sit down meal, highland dancing, a competitive (and rather aggressive) game of Pictionary, beautiful fireworks, drinking whiskey and other delights and of course partying into the early hours of the next day. It was a lot of fun and just what I needed after working so hard last year!
I came back to Edinburgh on the 4th for the Fertility 2017 conference in which I had a poster to present based on my work in endometrial progenitor cells. It was the first time I was presenting this work and offered a great opportunity to discuss and hear views on it. Many people were really enthusiastic and I had some valuable conversations enlightening me to new ideas for my work. That, my friends, is what conferences are for 😀
Following this I took a further week off to flit away to Val Thorens in France for an unforgettable skiing holiday with my boyfriend Andy and 6 of his friends… that’s right I was on a LADS holiday! Although you may think this sounds dreadful it was actually great fun, and it turns out I am perhaps more of a LAD than Andy’s friends haha.
We skied all week and even went down the longest toboggan run in Europe, a 6km high speed, adrenalin fuelled sledge race which was phenomenal. Our beautiful apartment was a duplex and in the building we had a pool, sauna and steam room which was perfect for relaxing in after a day on the slopes! In all it was FANTASTIC!!!
All in all I loved my wintery break but this meant that when I returned to the Lab I had a serious case of January Blues. I am sure many of you experienced it too but I honestly found it so difficult to get back into lab life and my work. Luckily I have a really supportive lab group (many of whom were probably feeling the blues too!) who assured me to take it slow and ease back into the work and I would be fine…They were right!!!!
I spent the rest of January preparing for and collecting samples for an exciting Sequencing project I am doing. RNA Sequencing is used to analyse the transcriptome in cells of interest and examine the upregulation or downregulation of specific genes in different experimental samples. This knowledge allows me to dissect endometrial repair process in much more detail and will hopefully open the door to a whole new set of experimentation! It has taken me a long time to get to this point but I have finally optimised every step to gain the most suitable samples for this application and I am excited to proceed!
In other Lab news Bianca form my lab returned from her new post doc position in Berlin to sit and PASS her VIVA 😀 What a clever cookie! It was so lovely to see her again and it definitely didn’t feel like she had been away for 4 months already. In a similar vein, Jenni from the Rossi lab also passed her VIVA and so we all went out to celebrate their success ad toast to their bright futures: WELL DONE GIRLS YOU MAKE IT LOOOK SO EASY 😀 Very proud to have such clever friends.
And finally, in an attempt to really chase away that January feeling, my little sister and her flatmates hosted a January Blues party which was really fun and really did chase away the residual blues!
My advice at this point is: do not worry if you are struggling with enthusiasm after you come back from an AMAZING holiday, just accept it may take a week of little expectation and use this time to plan for the next few weeks of productivity!
Battle on my lovelies…