A battle on two fronts – coping with a PhD in the midst of mental illness

By Caroline Wood, University of Sheffield

It’s a bit ironic really that my PhD topic ended up being the parasitic plant Striga gesnerioides. This notorious weed cannot survive without a host, so as soon as it germinates it attaches itself to the roots of a susceptible victim. A plant rather similar, then, to the mental illness I have been struggling with for over six years now.

Continue reading A battle on two fronts – coping with a PhD in the midst of mental illness

Supporting women working in STEM careers

By Emma Pettengale, Commissioning Editor, Portland Press

The United States Census Bureau says that although women make up nearly half of the working population, they remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) occupations. In the UK, the Women in the STEM workforce (WISE) campaign strives to achieve gender balance in the sector.  Recent figures from WISE (Nov 2016) show that while there have been some increases, women still only make up 21% of the Core STEM workforce in the UK. Globally, women make up an average of 28.4% of those employed in scientific research and development according to a recent report. There is a need to encourage and support women in STEM, and the Biochemical Society and Portland Press actively supports female members of the life science community in their goals. 

I asked a selection of female scientists from across a range of fields to talk to us about what drew them to science and the female scientists that they most admire. Continue reading “Supporting women working in STEM careers”

Career returning – getting to the root of it

By Helen Thompson, Daphne Jackson Fellow, Durham University

helen-thompson-2A friend and ex-lab mate has just started volunteering in a lab to update her CV and commented to me “it’s like coming home isn’t it?”, I couldn’t agree more.  With my borrowed lab coat on, agar media bottle rattling on the plate in the microwave while it melts and the hum of the flow hood in the background, after 12 years away from the lab it really does feel like a homecoming.  I’m very grateful for my former career, as a secondary school teacher which provided me with a stable income and let me raise my son but it just wasn’t the bee’s knees for me. So now that my son towers above me the Biochemical Society and Daphne Jackson Trust have sponsored me to return to plant biology research at Durham University Department of Biosciences working in Professor Keith Lindsey’s group.   Continue reading “Career returning – getting to the root of it”