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Looking back

15 December 2014

One of the favourite pastimes during the month of December is reflecting on anything that happened during the previous 12 months. I thought I’d join the fun and give my personal perspective on the whirlwind of change that was 2014. My relocation to Cardiff really started already in November 2013, when I interviewed for the position that I now fill (for better or for worse).  I visited Cardiff in January, and was immediately taken by the vast potential that this place has, which was what really made me come here. The move to Cardiff happened during June, which effectively split the year in two: the first half was devoted to finishing up as much work as possible in Florida (and there still is a lingering project in collaboration with the great people who work in the McKnight Brain Institute that was supposed to be finished *looking at watch* a few months ago. Well, that’s science. We will get it out when it is ready), and the second half was very much defined by the chaos of setting up a lab (that is to say: buying stuff, realising one forgot half of the important bits needed for this particular experiment, reordering the important bits, realising there is still things missing for that experiment, and so on), trying to figure out the names of all the people working in the Institute with me (which I still haven’t – I’m terrible with names), and trying to understand the underpinnings of the local bureaucracy (which I haven’t completely mastered either; one observation I can make having dealt with red tape in Germany, the US and the UK is that each country has their own very specific and peculiar roadblocks which are all very different, never make any sense whatsoever, and are all equally unnerving (to put it mildly)).

One thing I can say is that all the excitement this year happened geographically, not so much biologically, which I guess was to be expected, but looking back it amazes me how little I did accomplish in actual laboratory kind of work. I have my hopes up for next year, though. So, I’m afraid I can’t even point out a particular highlight this year; at the end of 2014 I’m just content to be in Cardiff and that all the travel-weariness is behind me, that there were no major hiccups during the relocation or while getting back to do science on this side of the atlantic ocean. Not a whole lot after a year that saw me move more than 4,000 miles, but sometimes less is more.

And one more thing: as promised, here is a microscope image generated during the last couple months showing interactions between brain tumour cells (green) and normal brain cells (white). The blue blobs are nuclei, which give an indication of the total number of cells in the area.