Purpose – finding your place in the world #MotivationMonday

Hey Everyone, hope you’re all well,

I think I’ve been bitten by the writing bug again! It makes a nice change. As much as I have loved re-discovering my inner creativity through my photography, it is nice to once again be expressing myself with words, as opposed to imagery.

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My life post-science

Hey everyone.

Long time no blog.

So yeah, basically, my mind has now shifted to a post-science state. I’ve finally come to terms with my new reality. It seems after leaving my PhD last December, I have also left science. I’m not sure there is a place for me in the field, not one where I could balance job satisfaction with my own health and a good work life balance. It’s hard letting go of something that was all-consuming for several years of my life. I still have regrets, and i’m still not sure of my place in the world. It might seem a little dramatic to some of you, but science really was all-consuming in my life. Just walking away from it was never going to be easy. But i’m better now, in myself, and I cannot put a value on that, no matter how hard I find it sometimes.

I think one of the most difficult moments came when I recently resigned from my position on the SfAM early career scientist committee. The guys at the ECS and SfAM in general are an amazing bunch, who treated me like family. They pushed me to succeed, gave me so many opportunities, celebrated my successes, and supported me through bad health. I left my position on the committee because I couldn’t maintain the workload, and I wanted to allow somebody else a chance to have the experience I was so fortunate for. But it was sad, and broke me a little. If any of you are reading, I just want to give the biggest, heartiest thanks to you all, and good luck taking the committee and society forwards

And as such, I have had only fleeting periods on Twitter since (Yet I’ve still somehow retained over 1000 followers?). Part of me really misses it. I miss talking to people, I miss being on the cutting edge of research news, I’ve said before, and will probably say again, it was (and hopefully still is) a lovely community. The other part of me struggles to see the relevance of yet another time-sapping social media platform. Especially in light of my photography escapades on Facebook and Instagram now, which keeps me busy!

And a lot’s happened since. I mean it’s practically a dirty word now, but Brexit. And no don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into a political angst post. But seriously, the potential impact of the referendum result could be monumental to Science. In hindsight, past me would have been all over that on Twitter, every day, and it still seems a bit weird that I wasn’t, but I was busy and tired, and had bigger fish to fry.

So what’s next then?

Not a clue. I’ve been working in admin, with involvement in communications, and that’s something I would really love to pursue a long-term career in. I’ll keep you all posted! But I don’t want to end this post thinking it is negative, far from it. I have regrets, true, but I made the right decision. It’s now a year since I last worked in a lab, and it still feels like just yesterday. But my head is in such a better place now, I actually feel like myself again!

Sorry, not very science-y, but as always, I appreciate you taking the time to read this!

Much love,

Microbe Stew

Putting the ‘Media’ in ‘Academia’

Microbe Stew

I’m writing this post on WordPress. Some of you will see it directly via the WordPress reader, but chances are most of you will be drawn here via social media – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and so on… The relevance of this? Social media is important to academia (apologies for the rather cliched title!).

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PhD – Fight or Flight

Microbe Stew

Hi everyone! Welcome to my latest article. I am very lucky and grateful to be collaborating with Jennifer Polk: Academic, Career, and Life Coach, who has an amazing blog – From PhD to Life. Also check out #withaPhD. Here I am going to discuss my difficulties with an academic career, and over uncertainties over my future career. Jennifer offers advice on how to plan for the future and expand your career options. Make sure you look at our resource list at the end of the article, for a tonne of advice!

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Bone cement – saving lives since the 1940s (Part 3)

Microbe Stew

Hi everyone!

Bone cement – saving lives since the 1940s (Part 1)

Bone cement – saving lives since the 1940s (Part 2)

My research into antibiotic loaded bone cement was carried out in an eight week summer research project with Professor Tom Smith at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. This was funded by a Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) Students Into Work Grant, for which i am very grateful!

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Up in the aer(ogel)

Microbe Stew

Hi everyone, welcome to the latest #MicrobeStew article!

This week i am incredibly lucky to have my first guest post written by Laurie Winkless (@Laurie_Winkless), who is a physics and material sci Science Communicator. Please check out her blog “No Lab Coat Needed“, where she writes some excellent and informative posts. If you’re wondering, “how does this fit into a microbiology blog?”, then wonder no more. Laurie has written an article on aerogels, a technology I recently investigated as a method for antibiotic delivery in orthopaedic surgery. For my previous posts on this topic see here. This will be followed soon by a post on my research. Hope you enjoy!

I remember vividly the first time I saw aerogel – I was a 15-year old space nut, watching the news one evening with my parents. There, on my TV, was what I later described in my…

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Bone cement – saving lives since the 1940s (Part 2)

Microbe Stew

Part 1 can be found here.

So where does bone cement fit into this story? Since the 1940s, bone cement has been used, well, to cement bones back together (sorry it’s so obvious!). The bone cement I am discussing here is one of the most commonly used, a polymer called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). One of the first applications of PMMA was in cranioplasties (to repair cracks in skulls) in the 1940s

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