Let me first update you on the progress of my RNA sequencing project. The samples were sent off at the end of last month and after completion of all necessary administration, they were passed on to the laboratory team for processing (see email!). Two weeks later I was informed that 29/30 of my samples had PASSED the Edinburgh Genomics in house quality assessment and were ready for library preparation. Currently I am now in limbo as I wait for the data to be generated and sent to me for data analysis which will include mapping read to the murine genome, transcript read counts and differential expression analysis between my different experimental groups. After what will be a lot of work this will hopefully this will open up a while set of new and exciting leads for my project.
Most of my energy since the beginning of this year has been focussed on getting these samples generated and sent away, which you will know if you have read my blog posts from January through to March! Now that they have been sent away I have been busying myself with work that was side lined and planning for the next few months. A few examples include: analysing uterine tissues from the MacApple transgenic to compliment studies with MacGreen tissues to show that the site of transgene insertion does not alter the results I have gathered to date; performing some characterisation PCRs on isolated cells to highlight genes expressed specifically in pericytes but not stromal cells; and performing polarised light microscopy on tissues stained with picrosirius red which not only shows the presence of collagen but distinguishes between type I and type III bundles adding that little bit of extra information to the data.
I have also started a new study where we are assessing the effects of dihydrotestosterone (DHT, a potent androgen receptor agonist) on mesenchymal cell populations during endometrial breakdown and repair. Previous studies within the group have shown that administration of DHT delays endometrial wound healing and I want to see if these effects are in part due to effects on mesenchymal cells in particular. More on this next time!
I ended this month by giving my second Research in Progress (RIP) talk to the centre where I was updating everyone on the work I had done since my first talk alongside a colleague Thane Campbell. The talk went really well (bar one mind blank moment which for me felt like a full minute!!) and I got a lot of enthusiastic and interesting questions.
The audience was a mix of principle investigators, postdocs and students but I was pleased to see it interspersed with the encouraging faces of my supervisors, lab group members, Tissue Repair peers, office mates and lab friends. I think I gave a confident delivery and got some nice compliments about both the experimental work and the presentation itself- Professor Stuart Forbes who runs the Tissue Repair PhD programme even came to congratulate me afterwards so I was very proud of that! My third and final RIP talk will be in a year’s time and I am actually looking forward to it!
I have also been busy outside of the lab this month. I had a girls catch up weekend in Dundee with my undergraduate friends: Lauren who is doing a PhD in Dundee on cancer biology; and Gabby who is a Secondary School Biology teacher in Hawick in the borders. We did a day trip to Stonehaven where we visited Dunottar Castle, ate jumbo portions of award winning haddock and chips, and queued for 30mins to sample Aunty Betty’s amazing icecreams, followed by a pamper session and night out to Club Tropicana with tunes from the 80s and lots of dancing. On Sunday we nursed hangovers and relaxed and then went our separate ways.
But the following week we were back together as we travelled to Newcastle to see the incredible Ed Sheeran live in concert, supported by Ryan McMullen and Anne-Marie. It was an amazing night of music and Ed Sheeran blew us away with his talent- it was just him and his guitar on stage and yet it sounded like a full band… Absolutely amazing!
The following weekend I was at home to celebrate Easter with my family in the traditional Kirkwood way with an easter egg hunt in the rain, painting egg portraits for the rolling competition and a delicious roast dinner- all organised by my fantastic mother!
And finally I spent the last weekend in April celebrating my younger sisters 23rd birthday and then warming a colleagues flat with a karaoke party that got a little loud and ended up being shut down by the police at half 1 in the morning… luckily there have been no repercussions for said colleague or any of the guests and everyone agrees we had a great time before the end!
So until next time!