Burns Nicht

Every year, Scotland celebrates it’s most famous poet Rabbie Burns on his birthday, 25th January. For my first Burns night in Edinburgh the Tissue Repair students got together to share the traditional fare of haggis, neeps and tatties. It’s also traditional to have ‘A Toast to the Lassies’ from one of the men and ‘A Reply to the Toast to the Lassies’ where you make fun of each other but ultimately agree everyone’s great and continue to drink. We had a couple of toasts and replies… Here’s mine (a slightly shortened version)…

Thank you for those kindly words
On behalf of all these laddies
These brothers, sons, and boyfriends
(But hopefully not daddies!)

Now I’m sure you’re all considerate
When you are romancin’
But listen up for here’s some tips
On how to please a woman

First of all, get smartened up
A suit, a tie, a hat
Rabbie Burns would be ashamed
To see you dressed like that

He’d woo his girls with crafted lines
So you should do the same
“Hey bbz wat r u up to”
Is pretty shoddy game

Okay, Burns was a player
I don’t endorse his ways
Stay true to just one woman
And see how well that pays

A lady’s best to trust a man
Before she’s swept off her feet
Though feminism’s essential
Don’t think you’re obsolete

We’ll let you carry heavy bags
But not because we can’t
We need both hands to hold our signs
While at the Women’s March.

Laddies entertain us
(Some) laddies listen well
A good friend can be boy or girl
Really who can tell?

So yes, you’ve got your uses
We’re not so different, in the end
So raise a glass to all these here
The laddies, the boys, our friends.

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Lang may yer lum reek!

A Scottish saying to wish good luck for the New Year. Meaning ‘long may your chimney smoke!’

Post Christmas and Hogmanay I’ve now started in my new miniproject rotation. I’m working in the QMRI now with Dr. David Ferenbach and Prof. Jeremy Hughes looking at cell senescence, particularly in the kidneys. Cellular senescence is the process that causes a permanent halt to cell proliferation, but has been emerging as something more than an inert function, with potential roles in aging and age-related disease.

So it’s a new building, a new lab, a new topic in a new organ! What’s quite different is while the last rotation was a large group, this time it’s more or less just me and my supervisor! I’m about one week in and we’ve already got our first experiment underway. It’s going to be some techniques I’m familiar with, like cell culture, but a bunch of new techniques too and all applied in a totally different way. I’m looking forward to settling in, though the biggest issue at the moment is fighting for desk space, which seems to be at a premium here! I’m currently on half a desk in a shared office, but at least it’s close to the lab, so easy access for popping in and out – always useful if you’re running experiments with short timepoints. The tea facility is further than before (first world problems) but it’s essential to productive working so I’ve staked my claim on a very tiny portion of my half-a-desk for my mug (see below).

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Outside of the PhD bubble I’ve been a bit concerned about how the political changes of the moment are going to affect academia, we’re potentially moving into a new era for science which could change how we collaborate and work. It won’t directly change my programme and the scientists as well as the University are still committed to international collaboration, but the impact could be in unexpected ways.

All round, desk-wise, project-wise, politics-wise, we’ll see how things go!