Just say no

Today marks the end of what I have been fondly referring to as “hell week” at work, and although it has been tough, it’s now over. Hell week arose by my own fault of saying “yes” to too many things, and then realising that there was no way I could do these things in combination at the same time. This included – giving two talks on work I have never presented before, helping out with a conference, undergraduate lecturing, two undergraduate neuroscience practicals, running 6 hours of behavioural training per day with new rats and finishing up two manuscript drafts.

So, somewhat sadly I realised that something had to give, and it was either my sanity or some of the tasks I’d managed to agree myself into. Rat training got delegated to sullen looking students, talks got written, lectures were given, volunteering with the conference was sternly rescinded and those manuscripts can wait til next week. It is really hard to say no to stuff but I realised that I need to put things into perspective about what really I am capable of doing, and also not letting myself get into this mess again. I will be calling upon my spirit animal, Grumpy Cat, more often from now on.

grumpy cat

ISN / ANS / APSN Conference 2015 – Cairns

Just back from a week in Cairns for International Society for Neurochemistry 2015. Sometimes all that slaving away in the lab has it’s perks.

Cairns looks like this:


Admired the weird wildlife – mouseratkangaroo


This little guy came for some pats and food pellets!


We wore some hats


Hugged a koala


And did some sciencing… (I’m so pale!!)

image4 image7

Reichelt lab does some work

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

Alanna conditioning the rats, me playing with carcinogens



Making brains look pretty with immuno, Kirsten cell counting immuno


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


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.


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’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.


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