Time for Change…

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

The first weekend in July saw me dancing in the mud at T in the Park with two of my sisters, my brother and a Tissue Repair fellow student. We had a wonderful time and despite the sloppy mud underfoot and the occasional downpour, we remained light spirited and had a blast! Highlights included: Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bastille, Calvin Harris, Disclosure and Jess Glynne who were all amazing to watch. We also enjoyed braving the rides, eating copious amounts of sweet n sour chicken noodles and setting off a few of our own ‘moshpits’!!

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To follow this I left the festival on Sunday night to catch a train from Edinburgh at 5.45am to shoot down to Winchester for the SRF Annual Meeting 2016 and although I only had 2.5 hours sleep to prepare me for this event, it was really great! I met some wonderful people, talked a lot about science, drank tea and ate biscuits whenever they were available, listened to lots of brilliant talks, saw some lovely posters and enjoyed a fab conference dinner and ceilidh to finish. I was presenting in the Student prize session which was an absolute honour and I actually think I presented well this time! I received excellent feedback and everyone was really supportive however another girl from Edinburgh actually won the prize which was well deserved and I was proud that someone from my city won. It was a really fun conference to attend and I look forward to next year already.

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When I returned it was time to get settled back into lab work because the last couple of months have been quite disrupted so I haven’t felt at my most productive. I have been working hard since and just completed a huge FACS experiment where I was isolating cells of interest from uterine tissue to examine their gene expression. After some extremely low RNA concentration readings, I have synthesised cDNA and ran a housekeeper gene to check that I have some cDNA product and luckily I do 😀 below is an amplification plot to show you the success!!! Yey… and now I am going to investigate some genes of interest in my cells of interest!!!!

I have also had a shot on the AxioScan slide scanner which basically scans whole tissue sections on a slide, so what would normally take me lets say 1.5 hours on the confocal now only takes 1.5 minutes per slide on the scanner. This is a massive time saver and because it images the whole section I can get a really good feel for protein expression throughout the tissue. I am now hoping to return to the scanner with some of my previous immunofluorescent stains to have another look at previous results.

In other news I entered the Max Perutz Science Writing competition for this year where you have to write a science communication piece about your research and its importance. The article has to be aimed at a lay audience so the challenge lies in communicating your work so that a non-scientist audience can understand it. I therefore employed my entire family to read my first draft and point out any bits that were confusing to them- this is a new perk I have found to having a big family and one that I will no doubt use again in the future. We find out in September how we have done so fingers crossed!

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And finally, I have now completed the life changing move from my wonderful old flat on Thirlestane Road where I was living with my younger brother and sister, to my wonderful new flat on Livingstone Place where I am now living with my boyfriend…big steps! We took a full weekend to move everything in and have been slowly finding homes for it all since then. Although I really miss my siblings and my previous home, I am really enjoying making this new house a home and I know that Andy and I will be really happy living there… Anyway it is only 2 minutes by bike away from the others so I will be visiting all the time 😀

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