Hi everyone! It’s again June, which means it’s been a year now since I came to Belfast and started working at Queen’s in the FoodSmartphone project. Overall, I’m quite happy with the progress we’ve made, hopefully things will start to move faster from now on (it’s always said that the 1st year is the most difficult, we’ll find out soon how fair is to say that…). Anyway, after having had our quarterly meeting with Jack, Jordi and all our supervisors, it is undeniable that there has been some progress and everything seems to be on track. Also the sun is shining in Northern Ireland (believe me this is weird and sadly won’t last much). So we are actually enjoying this summer days here before meeting you all in the Summer School. It’ll be nice to see you again and catch up with what you’ve been doing during this first year.
In the lab, my work with AuNPs will be soon finished. At the moment I’m in the last step of their characterization, using a really cool Raman Microscope with which I believe I will spend a lot of time (I’ve been lucky that no one is using it at the moment so it’s available 24/7). For now I’m happy to have some results ready to disseminate in the prestigious conference “Biosensors”, to which I will attend together with Jordi. It’s been a hard-work last month for both of us to try to include the best results in our posters, but we feel very proud of them and we’re really looking forward to it.
Apart from that, we’ve also had recently the IGFS Symposium, which is held every year and all the PhD students working at the Institute have to give a presentation to show the rest of the people what they are working on. It is very interesting to hear from all your colleagues and see how a broad field is covered (from biosensors to detect contaminants in food, to endocrine disruptors found in plasticisers or development of encapsulated vaccines for animal welfare). So as you can see it’s been a proper end for our academic year, including a poster preparation, a talk given in front of our colleagues at Queen’s and a group meeting with all our 4 supervisors here to decide how to start the 2nd year. After this we’ll have some time to enjoy in Prague and we’ll come back to Belfast to organize the IGFS barbeque, for which we are in charge. As Aris was mentioning in his last blog, it is nice to get some rewards after the work (such as a poster presentation or a summer barbeque at the Institute).
Anyway, if you organize well your time you can always find some time to spend on you. And last month I decided to use wisely the long weekend we had and went to Scotland to visit some friends from my hometown who are currently doing their PhD there. After a long 40 minutes flight, we had covered the 130 miles that separate Belfast from Glasgow. It was literally taking off and landing, without any time in between to have a wee nap. It was worth though, I had never been to Scotland before and it’s a very good chance to visit it being so close. We spent 2 days in Glasgow and 1 day in Edinburgh. I really enjoyed both places, but if I had to pick just one of them, I would say Edinburgh might be the place to go (sorry if any Glaswegian reads this, still I had a lot of fun there). However, Glasgow University main building was simply outstanding!!
Now I’m getting ready for the next trip to USA where we’ll be presenting our posters and spend a nice weekend in the beach. Can you believe it’s been 2 years since I last set foot on the beach? After growing up and having spent my whole live in Spain, I am quite used to the sun and the beach (I would say I need it in certain doses!) so it’ll be really nice to be there and get my skin toned back again… if not sunburnt after 1 year in Belfast!
That’s all I wanted to tell you this time, I’ll see you in a couple of weeks and hope this post finds you all well 🙂