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A Delicious Reunion, Pizza, and Physics Adventures!

Student Research Seminar Series 2022/23

by Giorgio Mentasti, Research Student, Department of Physics

Hey there! Welcome to our super exciting blog post, where we spill the beans on our epic return to the good old days before COVID hit. We’re a bunch of theoretical physicists who’ve weathered the storm, working on mind-boggling equations from our cozy abodes. But guess what? We’re finally back to the normal times together, ready to rock the scientific world.

Picture this: our research group, scattered and isolated during the pandemic, suddenly coming together like the Avengers assembling for a grand mission. The highlight of our triumphant reunion?

Science Writing Competition 2022 – joint 3rd Place

by Teodora Rînciog, MSc Student, Centre for Environmental Policy

Hyenas – misunderstood villains?

Hideous creatures with a demon-like laugh, hyenas definitely meet all the criteria for a classic cartoon villain. I certainly thought so when I was a child, as did all of my childhood friends. None of us even thought twice about this judgement, even into our adulthoods. But, was this fair?

Why do we hate hyenas?

 Since the premiere of the exceeding-popular cartoon “The Lion King” in 1994, hyenas were globally established as the silly enemies of the noble lion. Considering the unpleasant appearance of hyenas, the young audience didn’t find this hard to believe.

Science Writing Competition – People’s Choice Award Winner

by Soteroulla Ellina, PhD Student, Department of Brain Sciences

Lab grown heart cells: Keeping the beat up

– Sorry, I am running late at the lab so I will have to raincheck today’s meeting…

This is probably something I have said more times than I wanted… Sometimes in confidence that the other person would understand and sometimes- especially with someone that I haven’t known for long, in a more apologetic way, hoping that they would not judge me. Good for me, this time, my friend belonged in the first category- he has known me for more than 15 years- so we quickly rescheduled.

Science Writing Competition – Joint 2nd Place

by Adwoa Sarfo-Bonsu, MSc student, Department of Metabolism, Digestion & Reproduction

The more, the merrier: Cells have social lives too

There are certain processes that occur inside us that can only happen effectively when our cells are in close contact with each other. Our cells are ALWAYS communicating. Sometimes they check in on each other to make sure everyone is alright (tissue homeostasis), other times they might even team up together to fight an infection (immune response), and sometimes cells come together to make a whole new embryo (fertilisation).

To achieve all these things and many more, cells need to be able to constantly send and receive messages and instructions to each other.

Science Writing Competition 2022 – Joint 2nd Place

by Nicola Robson, MSc student, Department of Life Sciences

The Fossil Gallery

My life in this museum may Seem rather dull to you, 100 years stuck on a wall Sounds tiring, it’s true.

But if you knew my story, you Would soon begin to see That epochs pass like seconds When you’re as old as me.

I watch you humans flit about Like ants, from my display, And I confess, I do enjoy To people-watch all day.

And so I’m quite content here, in The Fossil Gallery – yet I often reminisce about My old life in the sea.

My ancestors were lizards Slinking through the sun-kissed sand, ‘Till one day they decided They were not content on land.

Science Writing Competition 2022 – 1st Place

by Thea Mainprize, PhD Student, Department of Life Sciences

The Trial of the Red Gazelle

The thylacine, aurochs and countless more, What is another knocking at Heaven’s door? One more quietly met their maker, The red gazelle (Eudorcas rufina). Bright rufous pelts – such beauty, such grace! But all we know about are skin and face, No genetic studies, no records in the wild, Only two specimens worldwide on file.

Three, there once were, shot 19th century, Allegedly Algerian – though this is speculatory, Upon inspection, an imposter! Begone! One red-fronted gazelle (Eudorcas rufifrons). With the IUCN denouncing its legitimacy1, The red gazelle faded into obscurity, A true species, or all imposters?

The Crick-Imperial Symposium 2021

Every three years, PhD students from The Francis Crick Institute and Imperial College hold a symposium dedicated to enabling students from both institutions to share their research through posters and talks in a supportive environment. Obviously, this year had to be a little different. The event had to held virtually as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which posed new challenges. A key objective of this event is the provide a platform for graduate students from a range of scientific backgrounds to network and work together, something we can all agree is much more challenging behind a computer screen!

We decided that alongside using Zoom for the talks we would use Gather.Town

From the lab to the ward, and back again

by Dr Sonia Wolf, Department of Infectious Disease

In January 2020, talk of a new virus in Wuhan emerged. As whispers spread about what it was and where it had come from, my curiosity was only that of an interested PhD student in the Department of Infectious Disease. As the epidemic grew and spread, however, I became increasingly aware that, as a medical doctor, my skills on the frontline were going to be needed. As college shut down, my research samples sat sadly in the freezer, while I tried (and failed) to write from home. The email came at the end of March; I was going to Newham Hospital, as an Acute Medical Registrar.

My experience at the ‘Careers Talk with a Difference’

My name is Niamh Sayers and I’m a third year PhD student based at Hammersmith Hospital in the Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction, and also a Student Rep for this cohort. As I am nearing the end of my PhD (as are many of the friends I started with) I realised we may all be looking for things we want to do after our PhD, therefore I decided to organise this ‘Careers Talk with a Difference…’. We attend many scientific talks during our PhDs, from Work in Progress’ to conference seminars, but I realised we do not have access to many talks outside of the realms of science.