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

Microbe Stew

It is commonly known that many people typically outlive their joints (namely knees, hips, shoulders and elbows) and therefore need replacements. Damage to joints, especially those in the legs, causes a dramatic loss in quality of life.

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Blogging – should it be personal or professional?

Microbe Stew

…Or should it be both?

Hi everyone,

Just a short post on a blogging conundrum I’ve been pondering. As those of you who have read my blog so far, you may have noticed my relaxed (i hope!) writing style, and things like the awesome illustration of me! The quote in said picture seems weirdly pertinent (oddly the words of a professor in the first Pokemon video games) but i digress…

Featured image

My pondering is – is this a good way to generally present a blog, and specifically a blog that primarily discusses science communication?

Personally i like to put a personal touch in all my posts, even if that is just in some quirky terminology and funny pictures!

So my question to you is, should such a blog be this personal? Is there a ‘time and place for everything?’ Please leave me a comment below with your opinion, all are welcome –…

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#PhDaily Day 12 25/08/2015

An update, and an idea…

Hi everyone!

So it does indeed look like I will be processing NMR data for the foreseeable future! I have a lot of data to handle, which is frankly boring to tell you about and after the first day I imagine would be very boring and repetitive to read! This is likely to continue until the 3rd week in September – when I go on work placement for three months. I intend to restart the proper #PhDaily posts once I start on placement, as I hope this will be an interesting part of my PhD with lots to talk about. Just before I start, I will also do a post on what my placement is all about! But until then, I am still going to be giving a brief outline of my day, of course including if I do anything different, but then also throw in some NMR knowledge on some days too.

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Life, the universe and The Book (an update)

If you don’t already read ‘no lab coat needed’ head over there right now and check out the back-catalogue, awesome stuff!


First of all (and I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot lately), sorry for the radio silence, lovely followers, and thanks for your patience. Things in Laurie-land have been hectic of late… crap excuse I know, but hopefully you won’t mind too much… especially when you see the epic update on life, the universe and The Book below. Be warned, it will be a brain-dump. Anyway, let’s go through them in priority order…

  • The Book

You’ll hopefully be happy to hear that writing is progressing really well on Science and the City (SATC). I’m still further behind than I’d like, but momentum has definitely shifted and I am loving every minute. I made the decision to take a few months off work to just get my head down. Even just the process of making the decision had had a huge impact on my productivity. It cleared my head, leaving me focused, excited…

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#PhDaily Day 11 24/08/2015

Hi everyone,

I’m back for a 3rd week of #PhDaily!

Considering the failure of last weeks ITC experiment, this week (and in the short term at least), I have decided to focus on my NMR experiments, as (fingers crossed) these are still working. I got into work at around 10 am, and set up my computer (a linux system), before being joined by my guide and NMR wizard Andrea.

Previously, I have looked at the backbone structure of the protein i am looking at (essentially a chain of carbon and nitrogen atoms). Now i am looking at the two other parts of the puzzle needed to get a protein structure, the side chains and the spacial analysis. Amino acids – the building blocks of proteins are varied, and some have different side chains which can affect the overall structure of a protein. The spacial analysis allows me to determine where the different amino acids are relative to each other in 3D space, which is crucial to produce a 3D structure of a protein.

There are two stages to each part of the NMR process, running the NMR scans, then processing the data. I am currently processing the side chain data, which like all NMR data, is like a giant confusing jigsaw puzzle!


The NMR data processing screen. Certain peaks (the white circles) have to match up with certain other ones in each of these windows. From that i can tell the amino acid sequence, where all the side chains are, and where each amino acid is in relation to its neighbours.

I worked until 1pm, when i went for lunch and a sit outside, then back at 2pm for more data processing! I get my head around some difficult concepts to do with all of the different types of scan we have done, just in time to go home at 5.

Thanks for reading,

Microbe Stew