Bidin’

verb (used without object)

to dwell; abide; wait; remain

I’ve been at the QMRI (pictures) for four weeks and now know my way around the labyrinth of corridors, but only based on the posters on the walls (turn left at the team building poster to get to the printer if you want to know) so if there’s any rearrangements of the boards I’ll be in trouble.

My second rotation had a flourish of a start with a whole host of new techniques on the first couple of days but biology has now slowed my progress. As the cells I’m culturing age they should express a red fluorescent protein which indicates the senescence we’re looking for but this reporter is proving more difficult to pick up than we expected. I keep singing Roxanne by The Police at them, saying they don’t have to put on their red light but that they probably should. To no avail.

We have to tackle this by looking for senescence in other ways, which will be my next steps, so we can figure out what is going on and hopefully be able to provide a nice in vitro model we can run some experiments on! There’s a bit of waiting around (bidin’) while they age though. I’m telling myself this is a good reflection of PhD life – things don’t always work how you expect them to! The Killers asked are we human or are we dancer, I’m asking are they not reporting or are they not senescent? Less catchy.

Our weekly Tissue Repair discussion groups are still ongoing and are always a good opportunity to get together with everyone else on the programme. I’ve found that regularly reading papers unrelated to my project has made me more efficient at tackling new topics and as I’ve gained a bit more experience in some new techniques I’ve become more confident in dissecting papers. It’s also nice to meet with the other students, chat and share ideas, having support of others in similar situations is always good.

After the recent Trump travel ban it was great to see scientists supporting each other, with the EMBO putting US-based stranded scientists in contact with others offering lab space, library access and accommodation. This ‘science solidarity’ website was a great indication that people were willing to help where they can, something I’ve so far found to be true in any lab!

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