Category Archives: Research

In which I hire

A colleague I respect very highly once likened academic careers to a rocket launch: once you hit escape velocity, you’re safely in orbit. Problem is, achieving this state as a post-doc or untenured faculty is becoming increasingly difficult. Hundreds of … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Careers, Recruitment, Research, The profession of science | 1 Comment

In which we ride the imposter rollercoaster – again

We often think of our personalities and tendencies as being immutable, fixed, typical. But the older I get, the better I know myself. And what I know is that I’m often no more in control of my perceptions of self … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, Research, Staring into the abyss, Teaching, The profession of science | 5 Comments

In which I make myself useful

Two centrifuge buckets, both alike in dignity? It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an ageing group leader is, by definition, out of touch when it comes to the lab. After all, we spend most of our time writing grants and … Continue reading

Posted in Kit, Research, Silliness, The profession of science | 2 Comments

In which I bring Lego to lab meeting

Our floor recently initiated a monthly lunchtime meeting as an informal feedback conduit. Although the individual labs all work in one mammoth communal room, the research that goes on is disparate. The key to propelling your project forward might be … Continue reading

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In which horizons expand

Every career probably has a tipping point. Twenty-seven years after embarking on my PhD, a period riddled with false starts, uncertainties, twists and turns, I sense the shifting of weight beneath me and momentum gathering as I start to swing … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Careers, Research, The profession of science | 2 Comments

In which I wave in your general direction

Has it really been a few months since my last post? Holidays are only partially to blame: that covers two weeks. Maybe three, if you count the frazzled week finishing up in the lab beforehand, or the frazzled week on … Continue reading

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In which I snap

I’m not a neat freak or anything, at home or in the lab, but sometimes, enough is enough. Behold the new arrangement of our lab’s stash of fluorochrome-conjugated secondary antibodies. Is it not a thing of beauty? (A moment of … Continue reading

Posted in Research, Scientific thinking, Silliness | 3 Comments

In which the old girl rides again

As you can see, my young apprentice, your experiments have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational second-hand confocal microscope! My love-affair with second-hand lab equipment continues unabated. Some time ago, our department scored a good … Continue reading

Posted in Kit, Research, The profession of science | 7 Comments

In which work-life balance wobbles

As with most academics, evenings and weekends often provide the extra time I need to stay on top of my workload. I’d rather sacrifice some family time than get behind – because once you’re behind, the anxiety sets in, making … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Domestic bliss, Gardening, Research, The profession of science, Women in science, Work/life balance | 3 Comments

In which we are unlucky: on lab superstitions

I was thinking the other day that if academia were a mental illness, it would be bipolar. One day it treats me well: a student shows me an experiment that shows great promise. I have a spirited chat with a … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Careers, Research, Scientific thinking, Silliness, Staring into the abyss, The profession of science | 5 Comments