Series: My Journey to PhD
I can’t believe six months have passed since my PhD defence! Life has been pretty busy since then, despite my brave plans of taking long holidays. During the last half a year I managed to move over to the other side of the planet into a semi-self-sustainable house on an island (Bruny Island) of an island (Tasmania) of an island (Australia), which was on itself quite a big task. I also ventured off to Auckland, New Zealand, took part in a plant identification course, submitted a research proposal and learned heaps about native Tasmanian flora. And perhaps most importantly, I managed to submit a major visa application. Before starting to reflect on what it feels like living in the bush and commuting to the nearest (40km) town by a ferry, on the practicalities of bringing dreams to reality and connecting my passions, I must have one last look back to the PhD land: To the day of my defence.
After the "Thesis Content Treaty", which came into force by the beginning of November, I felt relieved yet ever more determined to finish up the writing and get my PhD. My partner was leaving Europe to return to Australia by the end of February and I wanted to make sure I am finished with my PhD by then. Since I was the first of Ron’s PhD students to graduate from Maastricht University, I had to make special efforts to tick all the bureaucratic boxes. Given my situation, I could not allow for any delays and every step taken had to work out on the first attempt. That of course made things pretty stressful.
The last post about my PhD journey was a report on the move of my research group from Amsterdam to Maastricht. Despite the blog going silent for quite a while, my PhD journey was ongoing and I actually managed to finish my doctorate between the last one and the current blog post. As you can imagine, the Move I was writing about changed quite a few things: some for better, some for worse. Had I not stopped blogging, the latter category could have been perhaps emptier. Lately I have made a big move again. Before writing about my current Journey, however, I would like to take a look back and reflect on the crazy times of the last steps on my PhD Odyssey.
One dark wintery afternoon my office mate announced me she would be moving to Delft. And that she would be doing so for her supervisor decided to relocate the whole research from Amsterdam to the university in Delft. "That sucks!" was the first that came to my mind and found its way out on my lips, too. I would not want to move to another city for a reason like that during my PhD… CUT.
Fat dominates my life at the moment! No, I am not getting obese and my cholesterol level is pretty alright! But lipids (that is fat, basically) are the molecules I am currently researching. Fat is also heavily discussed within my tri-athletic circle. And not that we are trumping each other in the consumption of skinny lattes and low-fat cheese…
The more you know the less you think you know. If you have a feeling you must have read this here already, you are quite right. I don’t wanna repeat myself but this is something that hits you badly at the ASMS. This annual huge mass spectrometry feast took place in Baltimore between 15th and 19th June this year and I had the opportunity to check on it with several colleagues from AMOLF.
My first conference of 2014! Actually my first proper conference since IMSC Japan 2012! My first conference in the Netherlands! Many "firsts" were attributed to the 50th Annual Meeting of the Dutch Society for Mass Spectrometry (NVMS - Nederlandse Vereniging voor Massaspectrometrie) which I attended with the rest of our group (BIMS – Biomolecular Imaging Mass Spectrometry) in Kerkrade between 13th-15th April.
No other organ has excited the interest of scientists and philosophers as much as the brain. The long history of the brain research passed through many stages with different beliefs and views on what brain actually is, how it looks like, and how it works. The brain is at present understood as a biological computer, which operates and controls the whole body and the processes within. The brain research still attracts enormous attention. Desire to construct a computer with the capabilities of the human brain is strongly accented. Other research aims at brain pathophysiology and understanding of a mechanism of various nervous tissue related diseases. The latter takes the advantage of different imaging and scanning techniques which are capable to display distinct physiological and anatomical features of the brain.
The first version of the following text was actually created quite shortly after my arrival from the Mass Spectrometry School in Italy in September. It took me, however, another a few weeks to tweak it for the blog. Lack of time for nothing else but the research in the past month lead to a significant blogging deficit. Anyway, sit down and relax, the first load of summarized FAQs about Mass Spectrometry Imaging is about to knock ur socks off :)