Blethering

Verb, talking for a long time

The first miniprojects complete, it was time to bring them to a close with a short report and presentation. It was a good motivator to mull over the data generated and turn it into something meaningful, though it was a challenge to do this from only a few weeks of work. I was glad to have the support of my supervisors in pulling this together.

Presenting to the lab I was working in was probably more nerve-wracking than presenting to the rest of the cohort, as they are all experts in their field and I was asking them to pull apart the presentation for improvements! It was a useful practice though and meant I was more confident the next day when giving the presentation to the course organisers and the other Tissue Repairers. It was also really nice to hear about everyone’s work – we chat often about it with each other but everyone got 15 minutes to really explain things.

I’ve enjoyed getting experience in the specific new area of Multiple Sclerosis and getting a broader view of the field of regenerative medicine as a whole. We’ve had weekly discussion groups with various PIs who give us a paper (or two or three!) and talk it through with us, which has been a good way to introduce the range of topics that can be covered by this PhD programme.

Our second miniproject for the rotation will be starting in January. While it feels daunting to start all over again in a new lab, with a new question to tackle, I’m still excited. We had a ‘meet and mingle’ where PIs offering second rotations could come in to chat to those interested based on the project descriptions we had received. Once again we have the power of choice! Looking forward to getting placed and trying a new environment…

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“Lairnin'”

Four things I’ve learnt (lairnt) during my first miniproject on the programme…
1. An incalculable amount about the MS brain! Not having done much neuroscience in my undergraduate degree, my first mini project with Anna Williams and Charles ffrench-Constant was a fantastic opportunity to gain some knowledge in an area I’ve always had an interest in but never had the chance to fully explore. For the first week or so it was all a bit baffling but I’m much more familiar with the terminology now. It’s been a steep learning curve so I’m grateful for the support from everyone there.

2. Sharing your data is so crucial. The talks, lab meetings and seminars that I’ve attended have shown me that it is vital to get your work talked about. Not only does it set you deadlines (lab meeting Monday, gotta shine up some data!) but the feedback from others can really influence the way you think and progress with the next steps.

3. Academics are not just clever, they work really hard.
Obviously the people I’ve been working with are smart, trained and specialised but they all put in a huge amount of effort to produce quality research. I think it comes from the passion they have for their projects and the ownership they have over them.

4. My ceilidh skills could do with some polishing… but my karaoke is on point.
A couple of nights out with the Tissue Repair students and the wider SCRM group have shown me that I’m not up to Scottish standards with my dancing… but my rendition of Shakira went down a treat (not really, can’t sing at all…)