2018 has been a big year. I have learned a huge amount about my research topic, as well as an incredible amount about myself. This year has seen me turn 25, publish 2 papers (https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00216-018-0989-7 & https://www.mdpi.com/2079-6374/8/4/130 ), speak/present posters at multiple conferences, develop a range of new skills and welcome a new pet snake into the family!
(My new Western Hognose, Irwin (yes, after Steve Irwin) and me celebrating my latest publication)
Earlier this year I was diagnosed with high-functioning ADHD. ADHD is a neurological condition affecting hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention. Although it is a condition I have had since childhood, it took starting my PhD (and managing my own time, living on my own in another country etc) for me to recognise it in myself and to seek answers. Although I originally was not going to include this in a blog post, I think it is crucial that we recognise and embrace how our personal diversities can contribute to a more vibrant world. I can clearly see how ADHD has shaped my journey and now that I understand it about myself, I am able to be more patient with myself when I make mistakes/impulsive decisions (something which I think is important for us all!).
(Winter is here! The one day of snow in Wageningen….. so far)
One of the highlights of this year, was being invited to give a guest lecture at Bournemouth University, where I studied for my BSc and MSc. This was super exciting for me, especially considering that, it was in a similar type of guest lecture during my MSc which inspired me to go into rapid diagnostics. Although it was daunting to speak for 2 hours to 40+ third year forensic science students; this experience has shown me how well I actually know my topic. It was fascinating to adapt my talk from smartphone based food diagnostics to smartphone based forensic applications, and it has actually further strengthened my love of the topic. Whilst I was back in the UK lecturing at BU, I also had the awesome opportunity to train on the BioDot dispensing system in Chichester. The BioDot system allows you to ‘print’ nano-volumes of reagents (such as antibodies) onto different surfaces, which is great for the next part of my project which will see me using different formats of microarrays. This means that I can now use the machine to ‘print’ my antibodies in different patterns for future use – this will be super useful when I start multiplexing.
(My great experience at BioDot – making me excited for printing my reagents in cool ways in 2019)
Having time off is a great chance to reflect on the past year and recalibrate for the upcoming one. As Wageningen is situated so closely to Germany, I was able to check out the Christmas markets in Cologne. One of the best bits of being an EU citizen (despite what the UK would have you think…) is the freedom of movement (and of course the funding of my PhD – thank-you Horizon 2020/Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions !!!!!). I love being able to travel/work and live in Europe and I am excited and blessed to be able to continue with this once my Irish Citizenship goes through (I am one of the lucky ones with an Irish grandparent/parents and thus can escape this disgusting/unwanted mess they call ‘Brexit’).
(Me enjoying freedom of movement at the Xmas markets in Cologne, Germany)
For now, I will enjoy the rest of my holidays and look forward to starting the new year, with a detox, a new supervisor and a new part of my project (hello flow through assays).
Happy New Year