Blog for Bristol Doctoral College

I’ve written a blog for the Bristol Doctoral College about working on the first GW4 Early Career Neuroscientist Day.

I enjoyed it and would recommend getting involved in organising an academic event to anyone doing a PhD or as an early career researcher. Next year the event is running in Cardiff and I’m hoping to attend and see what the new committee has put together.

To read more about my experience head over the the BDC blog!

ECND - blog


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I’ve been on a blog hiatus!

I had intended to write at least 1 blog for each month during my PhD.

Shock, horror! Life got in the way!

I’m not too disappointed as I’ve been filling my spare time with lots of other worthwhile projects (and relaxation!). I’ve really missed writing for fun but my academic writing has to take priority and that’s what took up most of my writing time November and December.

Here’s a selection of things I’ve been involved in and been up to in the past few months:

Bristol Science Film Festival

Bristol Neuroscience Festival

Pint of Science

University of Bristol Postgraduate Network

GW4 Early Career Neuroscientist Day

Plus my PhD and some downtime of course…


Stay tuned for more ramblings!

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Ada Lovelace Day 2015 #UoBInspired

I’m a Neuroscience PhD student at the University of Bristol and I’ve written this blog to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day 2015.

  • Who or what inspired you?

It’s impossible for me to select on person or event has inspired me to go into research. I just continued pursuing what I enjoyed and I had encouragement from every person in every lab I’ve worked in along the way.

All my science teachers at school were women and I appreciated having mixed lecturers and being mentored by PhD students, post-docs and supervisors while doing my degree and Masters.

I suppose I was inspired by everyone I’ve met in research and that’s why I’m still here!

In terms of my research, I work on understanding what happens in the Alzheimer’s disease brain. I was inspired to work in this area because of the huge scientific, economic and human problem dementia poses. In Alzheimer’s disease nerve cells in the brain are dying and we don’t know why. I wanted to to help find the answer to this so we can have a chance at finding a solution to dementia. Continue reading

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Baking and the PhD

There appears to be something about doing a PhD that makes people bake.

I’ve been ‘warned’ by several current and ex-PhD students that there will be a baking phase of my PhD. Perhaps it’s something about being constructive outside the lab, relaxing and getting that feel good feeling, or maybe it’s just the need for sugar and home comforts to get us through the week.

Even as the annual #GBBO frenzy dies down it feels like pretty much everyone in the nation is obsessed with baking. Cake appears to be a staple of many a work environment, and for good reason. In academia it can hold an even more important place.


At my new workplace a cake competition brought the whole building together.

Continue reading

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Runner Up in the 2015 London Naturejobs Career Expo journalism competition

I entered a blog under the theme of ‘networking’ for the 2015 London NatureJobs Career Expo journalism competition and I was selected as one of 5 runners up.


I worked with the editor, Julie Gould, to refine and publish my blog on the NatureJobs Blog.

The topic of networking appealed to me as it has been something that I have previously struggled with. Having overcome this myself I wanted to pass on how I got to grips with talking to other people and maintaining connections – and get across that it can actually be quite fun!

The 5 winners of the competition became journalists for a day at the annual NatureJobs Career Expo in London. I’m hoping to go to this event in 2016 in preparation for my final year as a PhD student to give me ideas and advice on what to do and where to go next.

Basic CMYK

Check out all the blogs from NJCE15 including those from the winners and fellow runners up.

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Blog for Alzheimer’s Research UK

It’s all been a bit quite on my blog for a while, though if you check out my twitter you’ll see that I’m still active and PhDing away. I’ve also written a blog for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

I was attended last years Alzheimer’s Research UK conference 2015 and also stopped by the ARUK table at British Neuroscience Association 2015 conference and I was invited to write a for

How is blood flow linked to Alzheimer’s Disease


I’ve written about the current topic of my PhD research. I really enjoy thinking about my work from a different perspective and writing about my research in an active voice and in a way that can be understood by a wider audience was really refreshing.

It was also a brilliant feeling to see a comment on my blog – which gave me such a boost when I was having a ‘why am I doing this?!’ PhD week. (Thanks Emma for pointing this out!)

ARUK blog comment

I’d definitely recommend writing about your research in a more informal setting and perhaps contacting relevant charities, institutions or funding bodies who may be able promote your blog to wider audience. I particularly appreciate that although I am not directly funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK they’re happy to feature my work on their site, so thank you!

For links to more of my writing see the ‘NeuroRach on other blogs‘ page.

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PhD – Philippine holiDays

Holidays are good. Travelling provides time to relax, experience new things,  see work from a different perspective and have fun! Due to these positive effects, I intend to take holiday time throughout my PhD.

I had a 3 week holiday last month. I met up with friends and saw a part of the world I’ve been wanting to visit for years. If I didn’t have such an interest in science I think I would be spending a good proportion of my time travelling.


Though this is something that doesn’t sound too unusual, I’ve found that it an sometimes be taken as a point of contention. As I’m funded by a university scholarship I follow their guidelines on holiday allowance: ‘Twenty-five days holiday a year, in addition to days when the University is closed’. Other funders may have differing guidelines for example: Research Councils UK state a ‘maximum of eight weeks in the year including public holidays, should be allowed for by supervisors‘.

Continue reading

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The PhD Chronicles – 6 months in

I’m 6 months into my PhD and I can’t believe it!

Here’s a summary of what I’ve done in my time in Bristol and as a new PhD student. This list includes lab things and personal achievements. Before I wrote this down I didn’t think like I had done much, but as I began to go through the little things I felt a lot more positive about how I’ve spent my time.

Lab clear up

This took quite a while! I entered a lab with lots of equipment and chemicals but with no full time staff to show me the ropes. My lab tech/clean freak instincts kicked in and I sorted out our lab store, lab bench and made an inventory of chemicals and reagents.
Sounds like a small (and pretty dull) task, but now I feel confident that I know what we have in the lab and where things are. Without this I would go crazy spending loads of wasted time trying to find things!

Continue reading

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A Sense of Self: Perspectives from Neuroscience and Human Rights Law

For the last month I’ve been taking part in the ‘Opposites Attract Collaboration Challenge‘ organised by the Bristol Doctoral College and working on this project:

Opposites attract flyer crop

Continue reading

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BNA Festival of Neuroscience 2015 – A PhD Student perspective

Over 1,600 neuroscientists from the UK and beyond descended on Edinburgh for the BNA Festival of Neuroscience 2015.

As my PhD is on dementia with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease, the conference programme this year was very exciting. As well as attending sessions relevant to my PhD I could also brush up on the latest findings in other areas of neurodegenerative research. Continue reading

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