Tuesday 28 October 2014

Ultimo pez

I know, I know, I have been slacking in the blogging department. Although, I do have a good excuse! This weekend I finished my thesis. Yup, you read that right. FINISHED. THESIS. It feels good to say that. The last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind, I'm not quite sure where all the time has gone (or whether I have a social life anymore?) but all I know is that I am done. I'm not quite sure if I can feel the relief yet.

Another reason for me being so busy these past few weeks has been because it's the start of term again, and you know what that means? Yup, the start of the teaching semester! As you will know if you have read my blog in the past, I am a 'self-funded' PhD student, so teaching has been a major part of my PhD. This year I have been helping out my supervisor with Cell and Immunobiology again, and started assisting with a new module; Molecular Ecology! We are teaching the second years how to do DNA extractions and PCR - wahoo - wish they did that when I was doing my undergraduate degree! I have also been helping out teaching an R module to the new cohort of Masters Students and a plant module to the first years.

I have also been guest lecturing again for the third year Diseases of Aquatic Organisms module, my favourite! Luckily, I already had a talk prepared, because in September I was invited to speak at a very cool conference. The Annual Meeting of the National Reference Laboratories for Crustacean Diseases takes place, as the name suggests, annually. This year was the 6th meeting, which took place at Cefas, Weymouth. The Weymouth lab is the European Union Reference Laboratory for Crustacean Diseases and I was invited by the director, Dr. Grant Stentiford, who will also be the external examiner for my PhD. I was asked to give an overview talk on shell disease, as part of the 'eDNA and invertebrate pathogens' session, which was really exciting. I was able to meet a bunch of international researchers interested in the same subject area as me. I was also able to get a tour of the department from part-time PhD student and EURL Coordinator, Kelly Bateman. Weymouth is a lovely little town and I had a little time to explore before catching my train home on the Friday evening.

So what next?! Well that's the big question. Obviously I have to wait until December for my viva (or 'defender', as the rest of the world calls it) and I have a few ideas up my sleeve and a couple more papers to send off. I have already applied for funding for some work abroad next year, will keep everyone posted. I will also be applying for some more in the coming weeks so it's just a case of waiting on decisions... I did get a little over excited the other night and treated myself to a new tripod and aperture timer so watch this space for some cool time-lapse videos (spare time... what are you!?) Before I go, here are some photos of a contented PhD student in her natural habitat:

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