The Biochemist Blog

How to find the right mentor for you

By Claudia Bonfio, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK

I always thought that being a Postdoc was going to be better and easier than being a PhD student. And this was my feeling when I enthusiastically packed my life in a suitcase and moved to Cambridge from Italy, ready for my new postdoctoral adventure. My dream was then to become a group leader in a top university. It took me about 2 weeks in my new Postdoc life to understand that I was completely wrong. It was not better or easier. I felt completely lost, with no clues about what my future in research would be.

Better biodegradables: taking ‘going green’ to a whole new level

By Michelle Dookwah, University of Georgia, USA

“Where should I put my recycling?” – a common phrase I’ll hear a house guest ask if they can’t spot the recycling bin in my kitchen. But unfortunately, this question is posing a larger problem when put in the context of a global scale. Recent changes in China’s policies for accepting plastic waste for recycling is leaving the UK facing the challenge of what to do with half a million tonnes of plastic waste. And this isn’t an issue only faced in Europe; these new restrictions leave the US with massive quantities of plastic waste to deal with as well.

Your scales look awfully fishy

By Paulo Szwarc, Federal University of Paraná, Brazil

Following the Oscars 2018 Best Picture award to Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, a weird thought probably navigates our minds: what if we had scales instead of skin? No? Maybe it’s just a crazy thought I had while observing the movie’s creepy yet astonishing “monster”, an amphibian/fish-looking humanoid looking straight out of a Lovecraft story. But let’s delve deeper into that idea, just for fun. Fish have scales for protection against other predators, offering a resistant layer that can impede easy biting from bigger fish.