Reichelt lab does some work

Day to day goings on in the world of Reichelt lab…

Alanna conditioning the rats, me playing with carcinogens

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Making brains look pretty with immuno, Kirsten cell counting immuno

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Presenting new data at Frontiers in Neurodevelopment symposium, Sydney, August…

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What would I do if I wasn’t a scientist…

One of my students asked me the other day what I’d do if I wasn’t a scientist. It firstly put me into some sort of existential crisis as I’ve been doing this for over a decade, and genuinely had no idea what having a “normal” job would be like. I definitely have issues with working under a manager, I like working for myself, or at least having my own project that I’m pursuing. I certainly dislike micro-managers. I think I have quite a good business mind though, so I’d do well being self employed. In the end I think that I’d realise my dream of owning a really awesome small bar. It combines the elements of enjoying alcohol, being able to listen to music that I like, making cocktails and socialising. In fact when I was a student I managed a bar on campus and I’m pretty sure that qualifies me to own a bar.
So that’s my “if science doesn’t work out for me” plan.

Today has been a good day

I feel like I reflect on bad stuff too much, and I don’t say anything about the good stuff enough.
Today has been a good day!
My student Alanna, who has tirelessly run some epic behavioural experiments, got a significant group effect! So that is a good thing! I am so happy for her as she’s worked so hard. I’m also happy because it means we can publish some of her data too…
Not only is my immuno working (as my antibodies have lives of their own)… but we got significant effects that correspond to behavioural effects.
When things are working I am happy.

Link to an interesting blog post

Have a nice blog written by my friend Dr Lezanne Ooi on the trials and tribulations of being a new academic faculty member… and some helpful advice.

The Newbie Academic

Revise, resubmit, revise…

Despite submitting papers at completely different times, why do all the editors decisions come back in the same week? (at least it’s not rejections…)
And why does this have to be the week that I have immunostains to run on 48 brains? And cell counting. And video scoring. And lectures to write.

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Top gun

One of my favourite Australian colloquialisms is the word “gun”.
Urban dictionary says:
“you’re a gun”
Australian slang for “you’re a champion”, meaning you’re the best or you otherwise very good at something.

I love it, because it makes me think about Top Gun, and wearing Ray Bans aviators and leather jackets, walking into a room and people thinking that you are the shit, and being all round awesome at something. I aspire to get called a gun by as many people as possible now.

In Australia you can be a gun at many things. The cafe I like to go to on the way to work was advertising for a “gun barista” the other day.

I got called a gun the other week at work. My “gun worthy” skill – being awesome at perfusing rats. If you know what that means I’m sure you’d be both happy and somewhat amazed by my ability to do that.

Anyway, I’m totally taking the use of the word gun back to the UK with me. I want my students in Reichelt lab to be top guns too.

Work, work, work, life?

I feel weird about posting this, as things are don’t feel like things are actually real. But I have been offered an Assistant Professor position at an awesome university, in an awesome psychology department, which will support my research. I’m just terrified that’s all! It’s another international relocation (back to the motherland), another fight for funding, but… a continuing (tenured) position. Woah.

Other things… I’m off to Denver in a week to present at the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, then to Toronto for some down time with one of my BFF’s.

My lab is turning out some interesting research, so I don’t feel too bad abandoning them for a couple of weeks. Plus I’ve been setting up my beautiful new touchscreens and can’t wait to smash out some pilot data for future grants in the UK before I relocate.

Practice what you preach

For the last year my lab have been studying the effects of dietary sugar on cognition. We have found some pretty exciting results, and some dramatic cognitive deficits. However, I will admit that I have been somewhat of a “Do as I say, don’t do as I do” researcher. I work out regularly, and eat pretty well (by the looks of my bank account, I spend a small fortune on food each week). However, I’ve decided that I should clean up my diet a bit more. It’s hard, because academia is demanding and stressful, and I find it hard to contain my emotions often when my job involves something like 80+ hours of my life a week.
In general, I eat a lot of fruit, I like smoothies, have a weakness for ginger beer and I deep love of granola for breakfast. I don’t have sugar in my tea or coffee, and don’t bake anything requiring sugar ever. However, I was genuinely horrified to find out that a small bottle of ginger beer has 45g of sugar in it, which is basically double the WHO’s recommended daily intake of 25g for an adult. Sugar isn’t evil by itself. Our bodies need glucose to function and power our cells. However, when I worked out that I was consuming probably 2 to 3 times my recommended amount per day, whilst wondering why I’m still getting spots in my thirties and never losing weight despite going to the gym 3 to 4 times a week, I probably should address the cold hard facts.

To start with, I’m avoiding breakfast cereal in favour of an omelette. This has been easy, and actually takes less time to prepare than cereal, and I haven’t been hungry by 10am as I thought I’d be. I’m not eating fruit as a snack (other than blueberries and raspberries – which are low in sugar) – swapping instead for nuts, and no more fruit juices – instead I’m drinking water. It’s been a week now, I lapsed on Friday night when I drank whiskey and ginger ale, but other than that I’ve been pretty good, I feel a lot less bloated, and my skin hasn’t had a random grant writing breakout. GO ME!

Sugar junkies

Want to hear me talking about some exciting new research from my lab on ABC Life Matters with Natasha Mitchell? Yeah you do…

Sugar junkies: why do we crave the sweet stuff?

I’m amazed I even sounded alive after having the worst food poisoning for 2 days before the interview!!

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