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CITER Biofilms Workshop

The Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair (CITER) hosted it’s first ever biofilms workshop this year, at the Haydn Ellis building of the Cardiff University School of Biosciences. The aim was to bring together established experts, researchers and students alike, with a common goal of furthering biofilm research within the UK. There were a number of excellent talks, and a couple of networking periods that stimulated many discussions about potential collaborative opportunities. Continue reading

Back to it!

So..been a while since my last post!

Whats happened since?
– I attended OMIG at Gregynog, which was my first conference. I presented a poster and won the poster prize! #Win
– I completed the MEDIC SSC project with grate success
– I attended the MITReG Conference in Cardiff and won second prize for my poster
– I passed my first year progress monitoring with no problems πŸ˜€

– A paper on which I was second author was published int he journal Biofouling. It encompasses my first years work and having spent an amazing year working with Yuri Cavalcanti, we managed to get this done.
– I went to Boston, MA, USA for the IADR conference and was accepted for an oral presentation
– I had another son – Oliver!
– I passed my second year progress monitoring with no problems
– I attended 3 conferences in 3 weeks; BSODR, Cardiff (oral presentation;) CITER, Bristol (oral) awarded Highly Commended; and GSK symposium in Weybridge (oral).
– I co-founded the Early Stage Researcher Peer Support Group (ESRPSG) with Kirsty which is going well
– I helped organise a conference (PGR Day) and was tasked with organising the external speaker (Robin Ince – what a guy!!)
– I spent 3 weeks in Sheffield University with Craig Murdoch and his group (Lucie, Luke) learning tissue model growth, which I’ve just started back in Cardiff too πŸ™‚

Theres probably a lot more that I’ve just forgotten…but thats enough for now!

2016 has started slowly..with lots of things taking forever to get established, and things not working, but onwards and upwards so they say!

PCR – Positive clear result


So, I’ve been doing DNA extractions of planktonic microbial samples, and biofilms…running PCR and then a gel as you do. I’ve seen amazing bands from my reference ladders, but absolutely nothing from my samples unfortunately. Now the reason why has somehow eluded me until now. Ok,Β Candida is different to bacterial samples, and is a bit more difficult to actually get at the DNA, but surely I should have been getting something to amplify!?

No PCR Bands :(

Well, I’ve been changing the variables bit by bit over the past few months, MgCL2 concentration, new and old primers, primer concentrations etc…but yesterday I changed the polymerase. I’ve been using the new G2 Taq polymerase from Promega, but for some reason haven’t been getting any results..however, I switched back to the original Taq and boom, clear bands!!


photo 2 (1)Now, I just need to repeat this so that I can say for sure that it is working, then get in touch with Promega for a refund of my 500U Taq purchase!! Ooh, also run someΒ CandidaΒ PCRs..

On the other hand, good progress has been made with the clinical samples – we’re basically ready to go (when I get this DNA extraction sorted at least!!). Exciting times ahead in the very near future πŸ˜€


Maths is not my strong point

Today, after being here at Cardiff University for about three and a half months doing my PhD project..working with bacteria, enumerating etc which if I’m honest is not the easiest thing to do in your head quickly, and using log values and the such..

Today is not like any other day, today I received my calculator. Woo! Now, this may not seem like such a big deal, but boy does it make me happy!

And what’s the first thing you do when you get a new calculator…calculate of course! Had to be done πŸ™‚

2014-01-23 11.15.01



First week complete!

So my first week as a PhD student is complete – inductions complete, h&s stuff sorted, introductions to my academic colleagues done and settling in well.

Everybody is incredibly supportive; Rachael the amazing post-doc mum-like person, Kirsty my student buddy, Ray, Fraser, Niels, Lucy, Steve and fellow first year PhD student Paul!

Its like gaining a new family and an absolute pleasure to be a part of :). In at the mid-end next week (not quite the deep end..) with some PCR work on samples I sub cultured in my first week, ordered primers with Melanie which should arrive soon so that will be nice to do. Training day on Monday, and every monday for the foreseeable future!! Then just a lot more reading to do to try and get up to speed with the area. Fun!

Heres a picture of my new home πŸ™‚

Cardiff uni desk

New home

Getting stuck in (kinda)

So, my first week as a PhD student has started. Generally quite organised – inductions were good and informative, and actually not boring! Lots of reading to be done, and just learning my way around is the biggest challenge at the moment!

Everybody is really friendly – the guys in the office are great..very supportive indeed!

Going to get stuck in tomorrow with my second supervisor..working with Candida isolates – subculturing just to get my feet wet, and then more literature reading and background searching! Its not boring yet..but that has the potential for change too!!

Nearly there

So, had a great meeting with my PI on Friday. Discussed ethics information for submission to the uni, contacts and provided some signatures, so its all systems go!

Now I have my university login details, time to start reading, reviewing, noting and learning about my project area..which means obtaining and spending some important time reading journals, papers etc. You know what it’s like if you have ever completed a dissertation project, or any kind of research essay! Cumbersome, mentally exhausting but so important, its not worth not doing!

Back to it! I’ll let you know how it goes πŸ˜€ just four weeks to go ’til I ‘start’!

And so it begins…

Hi, and welcome to my blog πŸ™‚

I am an R&D Scientist; but not for much longer. In October of this year I embark on a PhD studentship at Cardiff University – School of Dentistry to undertake a research PhD investigating biofilms in denture stomatitis. It is a very exciting chapter in my life, and one that will inevitably make me an all round better person; personally and professionally.

It goes without saying that this next few years is going to be the most difficult of my life so far, but already feels as though it is going to be the most exciting (apart from the birth of my son or my wedding day..of course!). I am very much looking forward to the new challenges that lie ahead and with the support of my family know that it will be a huge success.

This blog is really just an ongoing diary of my studentship and goings-on in my life, so come and join me in my journey πŸ™‚