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General update

Where did February go?? January wasn’t too bad but February has been intense.

Where I was at the start of February. I managed to make plasmid #8, and I was in the process of putting it into Coxiella and checking to make sure the yellow-red protein was being made. I was also trying to make plasmid #9.

Since my last official update, I’ve progressed through my cloning woes to get two of my plasmids, plasmid #8 and #9.

Just occurred to me that plasmid #1 should be plasmid #2 on the diagram- oops!

Plasmid #2 is being a pain, so I haven’t got the green insert in yet. But- I did confirm that the yellow-red protein is being made, and I’ve also checked to see whether the yellow-blue protein is being made by Coxiella… But…

Why can’t things just work the way I want them to? #science

There’s always a certain amount of protein that sort of… degrades. They detach from each other, and you get individual protein fragments. Hopefully you have more of the protein that hasn’t degraded, but sometimes, you get more degradation than you want. Unfortunately that’s what’s happening with the yellow-blue protein. There’s more of them in fragments (yellow or blue) than together, for one of my strains.

Sometimes it just comes down to the bug, so I’ll check them again later this week and see if I get any yellow-blue protein. Fingers crossed I find them hand in hand!

A major victory for me today is that I managed to compile my Ph. D thesis chapters into a full draft. Each chapter has already received feedback from my primary supervisor, but now I’ve scheduled this full draft to be sent to both my primary and secondary supervisors. Once I receive these final edits, I can finally incorporate them in and get ready to submit.

It’s rather weird to be this close to finishing. It’s exciting, sure, but also terrifying. This has been my life for the last five years (including Honours), so now that I’m getting ready to move on, it’s quite scary!

Most people in my position don’t really know what they want to do afterwards. The general progression is to become a Post-Doctoral Researcher, which is essentially a research position with a little more independence but still with your own projects. You’ll still report to a Lab Head, but you’re essentially supposed to orchestrate your own project and come up with your own ideas on how to do things.

But… I’m actually not interested in pursuing those positions. I’ve had my time in the lab, but experiments are… hard. Most of the time, things don’t work, and it does get to you, mentally. The times where I’ve felt most confident or productive have been when I write up my work (whether it be for publications or for theses), or when I’m teaching people how to science. So, basically I’m hoping to transition out of lab-based work into something else- ideally something that can let me use all the knowledge I’ve gained throughout my degree, but also something that lets me keep on learning.

Anyway- for now, I’ll celebrate having compiled the full Ph. D thesis. Writing it is still enjoyable, but bloody hell, the formatting… If my housemate hadn’t gone through this process about a month ago, I would be lost. I’m glad I dedicated time to sort all that out.

To end on a more humerous note, here’s another gem from Twisted Doodles.

Categories: Ph D posts

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A former wet-lab based Bacteriology Ph. D student residing in Australia. Now working part time at a secret location as a Communications and Data Officer. 👀 🦠 🧫 🧬

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