Tips on applying for a PhD

It’s that time of the year again. And no, I am not talking about Christmas. I am talking about Graduate School Applications. Chances are that if pursuing a Master’s or a PhD has crossed your mind you will already be in the midst of scanning through dozens of Programmes/Scholarships and trying to figure out a way to make your application stand out from the rest. It’s a very busy, stressful and time-consuming period, but also one that will determine the next few years of your life and career.

It’s hard to believe that only one year has gone by since I myself was going through this process. And I would certainly not be where I am today without the invaluable help, guidance, advice and corrections I got from the friends and colleagues who selflessly answered my many questions and shared their experience and tips with me. The idea behind this post is to try to give back and pass on those tips that helped me the most and write the entry I would’ve loved to read when I was on the hunt for a PhD.Read More »

Letters from my PhD

Oh shit it’s November!

This sentence pretty much summarises my experience in London so far. It also entails that it’s been a bit more than one and a half months since I moved to this humongous city to start my PhD. One and a half months that have gone, just like that. So it feels like the perfect moment to start a new section in my blog: a place where once a month(ish) I’ll try to write about how this PhD thingy is going. You can expect to find things about the Programme I’m in, the science and the life of a PhD student in London, and any other random things I fancy sharing in here.Read More »

Fantastic creatures and where to find them

It’s been a while since my last post in English, which means that ideas have been steadily accumulating in my ‘to write’ folder. Some of these ideas come from my own experience with PhD applications and interviews (and the help and advice I was selflessly offered), which hopefully will be of use for someone going through similar situations in the future. Other ideas are shaping up towards something like a series of interviews, with a focus on bringing out the people behind a sometimes dehumanised science.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Today I bring you nature at its wildest. Today I bring you three creatures that might as well appear in the upcoming J.K. Rowling movie. Well… Except the first one… The first one has enough movies already. Over the past couple of months I have read about some really curious fellows, and I decided to bookmark them and share them with you. Yes, yes, you can thank me later. For now, join me for a trip into some of the most fantastic and unimaginable corners of our planet.

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The place where lost time goes

I am gonna get so much work done today. There is nothing like coming back from holidays with a fresh and recharged mind. Let’s start by catching up with emails from work, maybe there is something of outmost importance I must reply to…

But chances are that there is nothing of outmost importance there, and what usually happens is that one email leads to another, and then a quick peek at Twitter/Facebook leads you to the latest post of that blog you like, which happens to have a catchy title, and next thing you hear is someone asking: “Anyone coming for lunch?” Mother of… Damn! Lunch time already? “I can’t, sorry, I have so much stuff to do. I am so busy today”.


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On something I published

Now that PhD interviews are over and, with them, this whole process of applying for PhDs has come to its end, I find myself with enough time to do some writing and liven up this blog a bit. And with that in mind, I wanted to share the first piece I have written and has been published in a journal (yay!).

When I was in Oxford I started collaborating as a page editor with Phenotype, a journal of the Oxford University Biochemical Society that every term publishes short articles by students, postdocs, PIs and alumni from a wide range of disciplines. After I handed in my MSc Thesis I decided that it would be cool to write about what I had been doing those six months I spent in the lab, and it would be even cooler to try to get it published so that everyone could read it. So I gave it a go and ended up writing about the method I learned and used in my experiments.Read More »

Unexpected advice

I woke up today feeling that it would be a writing day. It was about time, I should really be getting on with my motivation letters for PhD applications. But then this interesting post about how cuttlefish hold their breath to hide from predators caught my attention. It turns out that by covering their gills they decrease the generation of electrical signals in that area and thus make it more difficult for sharks to sense them.

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The legend of the flying neuron

Some say it can be seen on stormy nights under full sail, sometimes at night or through the fog, sometimes in the distance, sometimes gliding above the water making great headway even in the lack of wind. Some say the Dutchman refers to the captain of the ship, a man cursed to sail the seas forever and never make land1.

flying dutchman neuron

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