Catching up!

Wow, over three months since my last post..sorry about that!

So what have I been up to in the past three months?
– I’ve gotten stuck in with lab work; making acrylic pieces, doing adherence assays and growing biofilms on them (and looking at them using fluorescence confocal microscopy to determine depth and arrangement!). Also have done DNA extraction, run PCRs and purified samples (ready for sequencing) of my stock cultures.. all good fun but very important work for when my clinical samples start coming in!..
– Talking of clinical samples, IRAS (ethics) forms have been submitted and we are ready for the panel meeting which is going to be the start of Feb.
– Literature reading..and lots of it!
– Cardiff University have a yearly review for each PhD student, but instead of being at the end of the year (as it is called an End of Year Progress Report), its requested at 8 months!! This is a substantial report (9,000 words), including a significant literature review and details of my methods, results and conclusions to date.. all the hard lab work will be put on trial!

Since my last post, we’ve had Christmas and New Year – so happy new year to everyone that I haven’t yet seen/spoken to :). Christmas was lovely – spent a lot of time with the family which was great, Ruben had a blast with all his presents and it was really nice to be able to spend as much time with him as I was able to!

They say doing a PhD is 90% perseverance, 10% intelligence..and that is most definitely the case!! The trouble with growing biofilms, which grow for 7/14 days or more, is that if you get a single contaminant..that’s it! I found out the hard way.. one week in, I noticed that the media was changing colour by the end of each day and wondered why that was but just thought it was significant growth..no.. turns out I had contamination and all sorts grew when I enumerated my experiment! Three weeks worth of work (as I staggered the experiments) down the drain..just before Christmas!!! These experiments start up again this week, so fingers toes and everything that will physically cross are crossed in hope that this works (and I’ve stepped up my aseptic technique to avoid any issues 🙂 ).

One of my goals when starting the PhD was to do demonstrating/teaching at the undergraduate level. Well, my luck is in! I’ve managed to take part in a first year undergraduate medical students demonstrating scheme. I get a collection of 12 undergrads, and get them to do some practical work with me which is part of their curriculum (and it gives me teaching experience too!). I’ve chosen an adherence assay with some variables that are of interest to me, so they may even contribute toward my work progress in some way. I have to give them a presentation in March sometime, then they join me in May for a morning (in three groups of four students). Then they go away and analyse the results, and prepare a presentation of their work. They do a lot of the work, but I’m there to help point them in the right direction..should be good fun!

I think that’s enough rambling for now..I now have a reminder to post more frequently! 🙂

Ooh, and I got my first tattoo today!! #TattooTimes

Tattoo picture: 'If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants"
‘If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”

DM


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