Blog posts

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?

Urban Resilience Dialogues: Growing an online community through a research podcast

By Corina Angheloiu, PhD Student, Centre for Environmental Policy

As the pandemic has unfolded, as PhD students we’ve had to rethink the ways in which we conduct our research, share and discuss findings, as well as build networks and seed collaborations. In this blog post, I’ll share my experience of co-developing a podcast in this attempt to adapt.

Why a podcast?

I’m a third year PhD student in the Centre for Environmental Policy and my research focuses on the ways we can tackle increasing gaps between the knowledge and the implementation of urban resilience. As a field, urban resilience has never seemed more vital over the past year – we’ve seen the ways in which different cities have dealt with challenges posed by a shock such as the pandemic, as well as challenges arising from the overlap of shocks (such as hurricanes or wildfires) or the overlap between the impact of the pandemic and existing underlying stressors such as air pollution, demographics, or inequality.

Department of Infectious Diseases PhD Student Welcome

At the beginning of October, PhD students from the Department of Infectious Diseases were able to come together at a welcome event. Students from all year groups and based across multiple campuses met at a local pub for a friendly drink. At the first of what we hope are many events throughout the academic year, we laid the base of a strong foundation to create a supportive, engaging and friendly network of students from across the department. We were able to discuss lab problems and share career planning advice, as well as stories from the lockdown and our favourite local take outs!

Walking Tour in London

By David Uribe Saenz De Camara, PhD Student, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Friday 22nd October saw 13 tribology PhD students joining the “London City of Sin” walking tour and discovering that darker history that cannot be learnt from books. This activity was undertaken as a team building exercise to help integrate new students into the group as mingling in a non-academic environment has not been possible since the Covid outbreak.

Around 6PM, the group headed to Waterloo and stocked up on refreshments as preparation for the 2.5-hour walk. At 7PM, they met their tour guide Vincent and started the stroll along South Bank -now an iconic area but once a medieval red-light district-.

The SynBIC goes to the Isle of Wight

By Javier Cabello Garcia, PhD Student, Department of Bioengineering

After a really tough year, the members of the SynBIC decided to organize a trip to bring back together PhD and Master’s students. This way, we could give a proper welcome to the new arrivals in the team! After thinking about what the best place for our meet and greet would be, we reached the logical conclusion that there is no better place than a garlic farm! So, we headed to the Isle of Wight to visit its garlic farm and the island surroundings.

The day trip to the Isle of Wight took place on Friday 2nd of July, 2021.

Presenting my research at the Rising Scientist Day

By Jonathan Li, PhD Student, Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction

Hi, I’m Jonathan.  I’m a 3rd year PhD student studying signalling pathways in the myometrium. I presented my research at the Rising Scientist Day hosted by Faculty of Medicine. It is a one day conference that allows PhD students from multiple backgrounds to present their work. Usually, the symposium offers a great chance to network with other PhD students and to find out what their research is all about. This year, due to COVID-19, the format was slightly different than previous years, where everything was done remotely.  Nonetheless, the event was still a great success. 

A Unique Rising Scientist Day

By Alexander Carver, PhD student, Department of Infectious Disease

Hi, I’m Alex, a second year PhD student studying in Professor Xiaodong Zhang’s group. On 20th April, I was lucky enough to take part in Rising Scientist Day 2021 and win the 3-minute thesis competition. It has been a tough year for PhD students across Imperial College with the coronavirus pandemic taking a toll on what has been possible to achieve in the lab; however, it was very impressive to see what people have been working on for the last 1-2 years. The day consisted of poster viewing sessions in which all 2nd and 3rd year PhD students in the Faculty of Medicine were expected to compete.

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