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One year in Bergen and I definetely love it! Friends are whom make this new adventure so enjoyable. #bergen #lifeinbergen #friends #lifeofapostdoc #marinebiology #marinebiologist #fish #fishphysiology #fishphysiologist #salmon #salmons #atlanticsalmon #salmosalar


Spending this fine snowy Friday practicing dissecting zebrafish #brains! #hypothalamus #telencephalon #olfactorybulb #optictectum #brainstem #lifeofapostdoc


Number 12 = context for Strengthsfinders in STEM.

Your decision making is based on the knowledge of the past. In STEM research, where often concepts are continuously revisited and built upon as new information and technologies bring new tools to do so, your ability to refer to those past understandings and bring context is invaluable.
So many others will give little value or thought to what has been, but that's where mistakes are repeated. You learn from the past, and see the ways in which the new is really just the same as before.
Make time to read relevant papers in your area of interest - especially seminal pieces and older work. Work towards the present day and current trends and think about how we got here and what gaps, assumptions and impact they have. Keep this journey in mind when you make decisions going forward.
In projects, you enjoy keeping track and applying metrics to the process to gauge success and progress.
In ideas sessions, bring the ideas that look backwards and repeat the successes or avoid past mistakes, most only think forward.
Context will also bring unrivalled insight when it comes to writing introductions and discussions for reports, grant applications or a research thesis.


So excited to finally have my #zebrafish #respirometry study kicked off! Next up - feeding these fishies infected brains to see how the acute infection process influences their metabolism 🤓 #lifeofapostdoc #braininfectingparasites #pseudolomaneurophilia #Norway @uninmbu @helenemidttun


No. 11 on the Strengthsfinders list is consistency.
A person who sees the need and strength in fair rules and following them. You can see what works and are happy repeatedly doing that precisely for that reason - it works.
You give importance to the guidelines and legislation around scientific research, such as the ethics or collaboration contracts you are bound by.
You make the best progress when you understand the requirements of you and your work, so get them defined early and clearly.
It might be helpful for you to set a list of rules based on the requirements of your purpose which can be used to steer the group where appropriate.
In team work, you are best at establishing fair and equal rules for the team, ensuring everyone is considered fairly. This often needs to come from open discussion, and clarifying things outloud, so encourage this.
Don't underestimate your value in lab/office politics where the stakes are high. The little things matter when you spend everyday somewhere.
Look for ways you can promote growth in yourself, your work and the team that are still true to the rules and guidelines already established.
How can you utilise your strength in consistency in your STEM career?


Day 10 Strengthsfinders in STEM focuses on connectedness.

Patterns, links, connection, you're the one with the ability to bring together seemingly unrelated things and find the common thread and 'big picture'. Don't ignore those niggling thoughts or whispers that tell you something 'more' is going on here.
You can bring people's work and research together, because you see how the two overlap.
You also appreciate the unknown, and mystery that comes with it which many find frustrating. So if you work in a research team, you can find ways to build the strength of the research by introducing new, connected groups together or seeing how different techniques can work together to answer a hypothesis.
Similarly, if you work on a project that includes a multi-disciplinary team - you will help bring all the aspects together and build the relationships.
Bring your ability to provide perspective and calm to situations, and to understand the connections that contribute to something bigger to keep the very complicated work you are involved in, and the people involved, cohesive.
You have the ability to keep all aspects of a project in mind, so play to that.
When it comes to your research and career in STEM, you can see the butterfly effect so understand how one action here or another there may have a long-term impact. Equally great for planning experiments, or your 5-year plan.


Strengthfinders in STEM: day 8 competition.

You have the drive to be the best. Effort alone is not enough, you need to target your energy towards tasks that will put you at the top. Whilst many shy away from competition, you thrive on the understanding of how and where to improve that comes from comparing yourself to others. In the cut-throat world of academic research and increasingly limited funding grants, this is invaluable.

High-risk environments suit you. Work on carving out a niche for yourself based on you individual strength, skills and expertise, or take on challenges and projects that play to these to give you the fulfilment of succeeding by being the best.
Pay attention to the things you get most competitive about, because those are where you are most likely to win, but check in every now and then in case the goalposts have changed.
Also consider the metrics for success in your work environment, and the things you find inspiring in your competitors as these are probably worth trying to master.
You need to find genuine goals which you can ‘win’, to fuel your drive so be creative about how you get that fuel.
If you are a supervisor or manager, your constant comparing makes you excellent at noticing the individual strengths that deserve recognition in your team, which is integral to developing staff.


Day 8 already. Today's Strengthsfinders in STEM focus is communication.
Good with words, you can share information in a way that works. Written, spoken, find your media and utilise it. Your natural clarity and ability to provide an engaging narrative lends it self to so many aspects of STEM.
Writing papers, a thesis, grant applications, presenting at meetings – communicating your work is an essential skill, so give yourself time to really build your strength and weave it into your role.
Often, in addition to doing the science of your role, you will need to share the work with others. Get really good at communicating across all mediums and to all audiences – technical experts, 5-year olds, undergrad students, lay audiences – not everyone can do this well.
Don’t shy away from your desire to make your communication into a story, or add drama and interest. STEM doesn’t have to be purely factual or dull.
As you grow in your career, you’ll be expected more and more to justify the worth and need of your work to funders or governing groups, so develop your communication talent to convince people of your value, and the value of your output.
You tend to work better outloud, so find the time and people who let you do this when you need to work through ideas.


Strengthsfinders in STEM: 7) command.

A rare one. If I were to define you, I would call you the natural leader. A decisive presence that can take control. So think about where you have the opportunity or need to take charge and make the most of these spaces by using your command strength.
Also use these platforms to develop it further. So learn to be proactive to solving challenges, and bring people along with you, not alienate those around you.
Developed well, you will be very good at protecting the team. You will also learn how and where to channel your efforts to maximum effect.
You can take on the difficult, unpopular projects, but make sure you develop the strength to do it without destroying other projects.
Find causes in your work to give your effort to, as your ability to influence and be the first will likely gather followers. In group discussions, you are the one who seeks clarification of purpose, so don't shy away from pushing for that amongst the ambiguity.
Do you recognise any of this in yourself? How can you up the command presence you have in your STEM career?


Day 6 of Strengthsfinders in STEM: believer.
Are you a believer?

If so:

You conduct your life and work in line with an unwaivering set of values. That consistency is inspiring.
Clarify what these are to yourself, concrete your 'why' and remind yourself of that (even for those high in belief, this might take some time). Print it out, and tape it to your workspace. Use it as motivation to keep going, especially during difficult phases like your PhD or other projects which are fraught with challenge, and a guide when there are tough decisions to be made and you or the team need to know what to do.
Your natural integrity means if the team is struggling with an issue and your belief is attuned to the problem, you can be the person who helps them move forward.
Listen to those moments when you 'know' exactly what is right, that is your belief in full force, and act on them.
Similarly, if you're frustrated and demotivated, consider if that's because you're going against your belief in some way.
Find specific research or projects that best align with, or satisfy your belief, as this is the ultimate combination of passion and purpose which will make it easier to stay driven when the work inevitably gets tougher.


Strengthsfinders in STEM: arranger.

You are the ultimate multi-tasker, and you thrive on the complexity and chaos of this. Working in STEM requires balancing and managing many tasks and priorities. A natural arranger can juggle them all. Needing to coordinate the timing of three complicated assays in the lab around a mid-morning meeting and a dentist appointment - no problem. The flexibility you have means that when a report that must be completed today suddenly comes up, you can slot it in to the working day to get the job done. Aspects of STEM that require team work or project management really play to this. I think, specifically with lab work, you can get so much more from your precious lab days. Doing so many different things together brings strength to your research and results and increases productivity.


De-gassing toluene by freezing and thawing it with liquid nitrogen.

#science #chemistry #aarhusuni #synthesis #orgo #organicchemistry #lifeindenmark #labwork #lifeofapostdoc


Day 4 of Strengthsfinders in STEM: analytical.

The one who works from an evidence-base. Your decisions and opinions are objective and come backed-up.
To develop this strength further, focus on how you filter the evidence you have. Develop lab techniques, critical analysis and ways to seek new info, then how you use and consider these to formulate opinions, reports, publications, grant applications etc.
Think raw data, original sources, the gold standards of info. Don't rely on others interpretations of that. But keep in mind the bias these bring to the direction of travel.
Give time for your analytical thinking to look at your research or project, break it down, sort the pieces, and see the new ideas periodically to make your work even better. And go back over things again and again to gain new insight and let your ideas evolve with new understanding.
As with most of the strengths, be careful to focus this talent appropriately on tasks that mean the most to you, or have the biggest impact.
Find problems nobody can seem to solve, knowledge nobody yet has or knows how to get. Perhaps you work in a department that does root cause analysis, this is perfect for you.
The key for you is whatever role you have, never stop your natural need to ask the questions, and use them with the intent to better.


Strengthsfinders in STEM: adaptability.

So I missed yesterday because of important family celebrations so here is the third installment.

If you are high in adaptability:

You thrive in work environments that need a calm response to constant firefighting or chaos. A place where you walk into the lab/office, and the needs and tasks evolve as the shift develops - perhaps hospital diagnosis or other roles with high throughput, short-term goals.
If you don't have that specific job, you can still play to adaptability for those few hours, days, weeks before critical deadlines when a lot of people will struggle with the flux, you can step up. Broken equipment, you will find a fix. A sudden non-negotiable report - you will find a way to get it done. When a team member calls in sick on a busy day, you'll find a solution.
You can make hard, fast decisions. Whilst often you tend to focus your adaptability towards people, consider how you could do this with lab work or project management. Make your days interesting by having a week's worth of goals, but keep each day open with regard to the specific tasks you complete to meet those goals.
The same goes for long-term goals, don't feel obliged to have the 5-year plan, that's just not who you are at your best. You can still achieve great things without structure and to-do lists.
How does being adaptable help you in your STEM career? What ways can you utilise it to your advantage more?


*It's a few hours early, but I'm too excited to start the conversation so here it is.... StrengthsFinders in STEM: 1) Achiever.
If achiever is one of your top #CliftonStrengths

The to-do list is your best friend. Write a list each day of the three tasks you need to accomplish today. Your natural need to achieve means you'll likely complete the list, and that productivity drives your work forward.
To push yourself a bit, make one task challenging. But to ensure success without too much unnecessary stress, choose another task that is essential, but easier to achieve.
Try to make your tasks span the varying aspects of your work.This is such a good strength to have in a research or project-based role as the stamina will ensure you get results.
Break down your project into tasks to finish, your thesis or report into sections to complete and your career aspirations as goals to reach. Then make some progress each day, however small, towards those milestones.

Are you an achiever? How do you maximise this strength?
#GallupStrengths #Gallup #DonaldClifton #StrengthsFinders #StrengthsFinder #wearestemsquad #phdlife #phdproblems #phdchat #phd #lifeofaphd #lifeofapostdoc #postdoclife #steminist #womeninscience #laboratorylife #girlsinengineering
#girlsintech #femaleengineer
#femalesinstem #stemlife #stemcareers #stemgirlsrock #scientistlife #sciencelife #stemsquad #strengthsfindersinstem #achiever


Find a way that works for you!

I am not a natural planner, but I understand that it can help me manage my life and work better, and avoid stress.
I admire people who make long, elaborate to-do lists to encompass every aspect of their life and then consistently work through the tasks systematically, at a steady pace.
If I even attempt a to-do list, I tend to either miss half the tasks, lose it halfway through or abandon it altogether in favour of anything else.
But I need to work with the way the world goes, and things generally need a bit of forethought and management to avoid descent in to chaos.
A particularly useful tool for me is this little week at a glance pad. A stocking filler from last Christmas, I initially ignored but have come to love.

Every Sunday I work out the week ahead. Because this is me, I only include the key things:

A) the book I plan to read to reach my 52 books in 2018 challenge and a guide for number of pages I need to read each day to finish it,

B) the meals we plan to have
C) events or appointments on each day of the week

D) 3 or 4 other tasks to achieve such as call insurance company, buy card for Joe's birthday.
I then have a similar system for work, on my outlook calendar.
For me to pre-plan that much is more than I can usually keep true to. So some weeks, I don't achieve a single one of those tasks, whereas other weeks I might get 3 done. Importantly, for essential tasks, I work as much as possible 2-3 weeks in advance of the deadline to give myself lee-way.

The message I wanted to convey though is that by having them there, visible and few in number, I have dramatically improved the likelihood they are completed, and nudged my unplanned nature more in-line with a way that works with the way we live.


*Starting Thursday 1st November!* About a year ago, I discovered the goldmine of Gallup StrengthsFinders. A series of 34 strengths that talented individuals have and utilise to their advantage to thrive in any environment.

Primarily centred around leadership and business, the extensive research and experience at Gallup is a wealth of information on how you can develop and hone your top 5 strengths.

But what about in other industries?
As you know, my mission for School for STEM is to build strengths and skills beyond your specific discipline, to allow you to excel. So, naturally, I want to discuss how you can apply these Strengths to a career in STEM.
One a day, for 34 days. *Starting with 1) Achiever on Thursday 1st November.* Please join the conversation , I'd love to have you here.


Zebrafish #respirometry? Yes please! These little guys get infected with a nasty little brain #parasite that we know almost nothing about! In November, we’ll check out how the metabolism of these dudes change in the days following #infection. #lifeofapostdoc #zebrafish #prelimstudies #fishsci @helenemidttun


Brains and more brains! 🧠Started learning to section #killifish brains, with the end goal to measure how brain-infecting #parasites alter neurochemistry in their hosts. Stoked to be learning some new skills! #lifeofapostdoc #Norway #neurophysiology #fishsci


Our new campus 👌 #watersidecampus #autumn🍁


New publication out! Whoop whoop! 🤓 We found that individuals that grow up on high flow #coralreefs develop faster #escape responses from predator threats than those from lower flow environments. Surprisingly, no effects of flow on school swimming behavior! http://bio.biologists.org/content/early/2018/09/06/bio.031997 #3rdPhDChapter #EarlyView #lifeofapostdoc @shaun.s.killen @jamescookuniversity @coral_coe


La mia casa continuerà a viaggiare su due gambe e i miei sogni non avranno confini cit.Che Guevara #citazioni #cheguevara #research #esao2018 #happyme #keepgoing💪 #lifeofapostdoc #tissueengineering #artificialorgans #specialthanks #speciathanksto @elisa_re81


Really liked this city. Great place to attend a conference. #bera2018


BERA 2018 #conferencing


Lab scissors continued --- Dr. Mary McMillan

In my last post I showed you my lab scissors – better known in the business as restriction enzymes.
So I thought I should follow up and show you what they do!
This is a picture of an agarose gel – used to separate fragments of DNA according to their size. Each glowing band on the gel is a group of DNA molecules all of the same size. In the lane on the left I have loaded a DNA ladder, which is a collection of DNA fragments of known sizes. We can use this like a ruler to measure the size of other fragments of DNA on the gel.
In the middle lane I have loaded one of my DNA fragments that hasn’t been exposed to my restriction enzyme. In the lane on the right I have the same DNA sample, except I have mixed the DNA with one of my restriction enzymes. The enzyme has cleaved the DNA, resulting in shorter fragments.
My main use for this technique is to look for genetic variation within certain regions of DNA. If there are changes to DNA, it can change the restriction sites, or places where the enzymes will cut DNA. Sometimes it will mean there is no longer one of these sites, and the DNA will remain uncut. Other times changes to DNA can change where the restriction sites are, moving them closer together or further apart, so that I get different size fragments after the digestion. By looking at the different patterns of bands on a gel like this I can figure out if different people have the same version, or different versions of a gene. So my lab “scissors” are pretty useful!

#restrictiondigestion #restriction #molecularbiology #restrictionenzymes #labscissors#DNA #molbio #womeninstem#stemgirls #stemwomen#womeninscience #DNA #nucleicacid#educatetheworld #educatetheyoung#empoweringwomen #girlsinscience#bacterialDNA #humanDNA#nerdsofinstagram #instascience#theaddicitivebrain #sciency#steminist #stemworld #stemphd #phd#postdoc #postdoclife #lifeofapostdoc#postdocworld


Lab scissors by Mary McMillian

I thought today I would show you some of my lab scissors. Ok, I know that these probably don’t look like scissors to most people, but to a molecular biologist these are scissors for cutting DNA.
These are just a few of my restriction enzymes that I have in the lab. Restriction enzymes are cool little proteins that cut up DNA. Each of these enzymes here recognises different sequences in DNA, called restriction sites. When they find those sequences in a piece of DNA they will cut the DNA at that position. Some restriction enzymes cut straight through the DNA, leaving what we call a blunt end. Other enzymes make staggered cuts in the DNA, leaving single stranded overhangs that we call sticky ends.

This is particularly useful if you are a molecular biologist, because you can cut pieces of DNA from different sources with the same enzyme, and they will then have matching ends that can be stuck (or ligated if you want the technical term) back together. This is how we create recombinant DNA. In my case I often use restriction enzymes to cut some human DNA and some bacterial DNA, and then stick the two together so that I can get bacteria to express human genes.
PS. Stay tuned and in my next post I’ll show you how these restriction enzymes work in practise :) Thank you Mary, for explaining about the restriction enzymes. We look forward to your next post about the working mechanism of these scissors.

#restrictionenzymes #labscissors #DNA #molbio #womeninstem #stemgirls #stemwomen #womeninscience #DNA #nucleicacid #educatetheworld #educatetheyoung #empoweringwomen #girlsinscience #bacterialDNA #humanDNA #nerdsofinstagram #instascience #theaddicitivebrain #sciency #steminist #stemworld #stemphd #phd #postdoc #postdoclife #lifeofapostdoc #postdocworld #australianscientist #australia


Having the family scattered all over the world is not easy. This is how I wished my brother a happy birthday or how I talked to my father about problems. You have to be strong to overcome the feeling of loneliness. The good side of it is that, when we gather together there is no room for fighting and we all just want to have a good time. .
#365dayphotochallenge #365 #picoftheday #portraitpage #portraitphotography #theportraitpr0ject #thisisme #selfportrait #aboutmylife #visualcreators #selfportraiture #selfieathome #visualsoflife #artofvisuals #igmasters #münster #nikon #nikond3200 #thehappynow #thetravelwomen #familylove #missingyou #nothingisordinary #sogreatisthepowerofbeauty #lifeofapostdoc #liveauthentic #ig_münster #brightside #agameoftones


Dear Dr. Van Der Jeugd,

Thank you for submitting a scientific abstract for Neuroscience 2018 (November 3-7, San Diego, CA). Your abstract, "Reversal of memory and neuropsychiatric symptoms and reduced taupathology by selenium in 3xTg-AD mice," has been accepted for presentation in a nanosymposium.

Woohoo presenteren op het grootste neuroscience congres ter wereld (30.000 aanwezigen), check ✓ San Diego I Will see you again soon, pics are from when I attended Society for Neuroscience in San Diego 2016 #sfn #societyforneuroscience #societyforneuroscience2016 #sfn2016 #sfn2018 #societyforneuroscience2018 #scientificconference #scientificconference2018 #sandiego #california #research #lifeofapostdoc #postdocabroad #fwovlaanderen #kuleuven #alzheimersresearch #womeninstem #womeninscience #belgianwomeninscience #bewise🎓 #sciencenomad #neurosciencenomad