Issue 78 Contents
A Fly on the Wall -- an inside look at the life of a PhD student
What is your PhD about?
My PhD originally had three strands:
1. To develop a new labelling system for Drosophila using a 6 amino acid tag in order to label proteins in live cells in real time.
2. To use targeted homologous recombination to introduce a deletion in the pebble gene to allow structure and function studies. Pebble is involved in the final stage of cell division, and cellular migration during embryogenesis
3. To understand the timing of the binucleate cell formation in the prostate gland of flies.
My PhD is now focussed on the third strand.
Why did you choose this field?
I have always been fascinated by developmental biology and I prefer to work on flies than mice because they donít smell as bad and I feel less guilty about killing them.
What is the best thing about your research?
Taking out my PMS on male flies by emasculating them!
What is the worst thing about your research?
Flies not realising itís the weekend and breeding on a Friday afternoon, meaning that I have to go into the lab over the weekend.
Would you recommend this field of research to others? Why/why not?
Yes, because developmental biology is a fascinating field of research. Besides, what other jobs allow you to wear trakkies to work?
Would you recommend doing a PhD to others? Why/why not?
No. Itís a lot of work for seemingly little gain and it is soul-destroying. I would only recommend it to someone who had an over-inflated ego that needed reducing.
Whatís the biggest/most important discovery youíve made?
That binucleate cell formation occurs approximately three days after pupal formation due to a cell fusion event. Until now, nobody knew how the binucleate formation occurred.
What would make your life easier as a PhD student?
For academics to understand that criticism does not motivate female students, it usually makes them less willing to work hard.
If you werenít doing this, what would you be doing?
Iíd either be a high school science teacher or a stay at home parent.
Whatís in store for the future?
I will be starting a post-doc in Sweden at the end of 2008 and after that it might be time to think about starting a family.
And finally, you work with flies daily. Are you afraid of any insects?
Yes Ė all wasps and bees, Iím scared of being stung. I also donít like native wasps with their long Ďtailsí.
Issue 78 Contents