PhD reflections 2.0: let’s reboot

By Ralitsa Madsen, University of Cambridge

“Software Update. iOS 8.0 is ready to install. To install the update, make sure your iPhone is connected to its charger.”

Every iPhone user gets this notification on a regular basis. I am sure other smartphone systems have similar setups. Note how important it is that the hardware is charged. If it is not, the software can’t be installed. In fact, a completely dead battery means that not even the old software will be running.

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Resident evil: inflammation and depression

By Leah Kivivali, La Trobe University

Inflammation. When most of us think of inflammation, we probably think about a swollen joint or swelling around a wound, but can inflammation also affect our brains. Ultimately, inflammation is good. It’s the process whereby our body eradicates invading pathogens and helps us fight disease. However, inflammation can turn bad when the signalling to turn it off after the threat has gone doesn’t work.

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3 ways I battled imposter syndrome

By Brittany Maule, Indiana Department of Environmental Management, USA

About halfway through my graduate degree, I reached a point where I’d accomplished a few things. My new video was done on my research, I’d been selected to attend a competitive conference on science communication, and I had finished up a summer collecting data on algae in streams. Pausing, I should have hung my hat on a productive first year. But I didn’t feel this way – not at all.

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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.

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