The Home Stretch…

…by Katherine / from Canada / PhD Biomedical Sciences 2015-2018

I have thesis brain! I actually started writing this post in French…
This is the view from the library I was writing from when I was back in Montreal.


This is the final stretch. The end is in sight. I’ve spent the better part of the last month in a library writing my thesis. Remember how last time I mentioned that I realised how little I actually knew? I feel like I’ve made a little dent in that now. But more importantly I’ve read theories upon theories trying to put together what little we do actually know. I’ve also put my hat into the ring and proposed my own theories and written them in my discussion. The discussion was an interesting section to write. This is the section where you can come up with wild (or very tame and plausible) theories about how your little bit of research fits into the bigger picture. Who knows, maybe one day, my theory will turn out to be right, or totally wrong.

Writing a thesis is such a strange thing. It is incredibly elaborate and involves a lot of research. It is the summary of the past 3+ years of your life. How can you summarise the countless hours of imaging and data analysis, the hours spent interpreting successful and sometimes not so successful experiments into a single cohesive document? It is mind-boggling that in less than two weeks (fingers and toes crossed) I will be submitting the culmination of the last 3 years of my life. Completely mind-boggling!

I’m not quite out of the woods yet, I have corrections to do, parts to add and all the little bits and pieces to put together.

Writing progress report:
Methods: done
Results chapter 1: done
Results chapter 2: done
Final discussion: done
Results chapter 3: 60% finished corrections
Introduction: 40% finished corrections

SfN 2017

I did take 6 days off writing to attend the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting. This year it was held in Washington DC. The weather wasn’t as nice as it was in San Diego last year, but that didn’t make me enjoy the conference any less. If anything, the cold weather provided incentive to actually go and sit in a dark windowless conference room to listen to talks. Just kidding… This year, I went to fewer talks. Instead, I spent my time at the poster sessions learning new things, having stimulating conversations and actually fostering collaborations! There is a group in the United States, working on different mutations in the same protein as me. I spoke to the PI in the lab and he was really keen to start a collaboration and was willing to send us their reagents so we could expand our battery of assays on our mutations. This is very promising and could enhance both of our teams’ research.

I also had some really interested people asking me questions about my research while I was presenting my own poster. The work I was presenting could, at a glance, be puzzling: a postsynaptic protein affecting presynaptic function. Once I explained my work and how I though this postsynaptic protein was having a presynaptic effect (based on experiments from other groups working on this protein) people understood and I think I perhaps I gave them a new less compartmentalised view of synapses (all part of my master plan to spread knowledge of the theory that I included in my discussion).

Now off to get some rest so I can be incredibly productive and get everything done before I am back off to Montreal for the holidays!

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