This is a difficult blog to write. Partly because like always I left this to the last minute to do but mostly because it is in fact my last blog as a Food Smartphone ESR. Life as a young researcher has many ups and downs and some unique challenges that not many other professions face. One of the major selling points of doing a Marie Curie is the mobility it affords you as a young researcher. The chance to experience new cultures and countries is something many people my age would dream about. Not all are adapted to this new world of constantly changing scenery and faces however. Especially when you combine a changing environment with tackling a PhD! So what does that mean for my research? Well you can apply for my job here. This may all seem a bit sudden but it has been something discussed with my supervisor throughout the last year and is something I see as a positive for me.
So apart from leaving my job what other activities was I up to this month? Well I went Ice skating and somehow survived. Videos exist of my attempts to move on the ice but not even I lack the shame to post them publicly. Instead you can have a still photo where I only needed the support of one other person to stay upright! It was actually monumentally harder to ice skate than I had imagined. a lifetimes worth of balance and instinct is thrown out the window and you have to relearn the basics of just standing upright. I did accomplish some small movement on the ice after a lot of practice (and falls) but I could barely move for the next few days afterwards! Still, I highly recommend giving it a go if you ever get a chance. The Dutch are experts on the ice and are always willing to help out newcomers.
So what else have I been up to this month? Well as always I have been doing research. As you might remember my work involves coupling lateral flow assays to a mass spectrometer to confirm their results. Well after a lot of work and many dead ends I have finally started getting some answers to my many questions. My research at the moment has been focused on choosing the right ionization method for coupling assays to the MS system. Due to the complexity of my samples as well as the contamination that comes with their working components it is necessary for me to avoid an ionization method such as the ubiquitous electrospray ionization in favor of less often used but more suitable method such as atmospheric pressure chemical ionization. APCI is less susceptible to interference from the components of my assays while allowing my to still ionize my compound of interest. With this switch I have already observed some promising results which hopefully my successor can build on!
I’m not much for goodbyes but thank you for reading and I wish my colleagues in the FoodSmartphone consortium the best of luck!