October 2019: Entering 3rd year – the big one. And my project has reached the most exciting stage! We can now begin collecting data from our newly generated transgenic mouse line!
This new mouse line is LaNt α31 overexpressing, but only when exposed to tamoxifen, meaning we have control over where and when LaNt α31 is overexpressed. It means that for the first time ever we will be able to investigate LaNt function in a live animal rather that in cells in a dish or in post-mortem tissue.
Getting to this point has taken a lot of careful planning, experimental validation, optimisation, and checking everything over and over (and over and over!) to make sure everything is in place and the data is as tight as it can possibly be. This is, of course, the standard in scientific research but with the additional moral and ethical focus that comes from animal research we have chosen to be extra careful and run a plethora of additional checks at each stage.
With all this in mind, I am happy to say that the next year looks like it’s going to be an exciting one! I’ve been like an expectant father for weeks now and recently we recently had the first litter of mice expressing our transgene. I don’t want to give anything away or get ahead of myself in these early stages as the numbers are still low, so I’ll update you later on in the year, but let’s just say things are looking good… Hopefully I’ll get the chance to present my data at a talk at a conference this year. We haven’t decided where to go yet (psst…. Kevin, if you’re reading, Matrix Biology Europe 2020 is in Florence this year and I definitely want to go the BSMB meeting in Glasgow!).
Speaking of conferences, I was delighted to find out I won the IJEP poster prize at the BSMB autumn meeting in Norwich! This came as a nice surprise, as I had to leave immediately after the final talk to catch my train back to Liverpool on time (5 and a half hour journey!). It was a great meeting, as the Matrix Biology meetings always are (join BSMB here). Next time my aim is to win the presentation prize, fingers crossed.
Other academic highlights from the year include BSMB spring meeting in Liverpool, our Health and Life Sciences Poster day (runner-up poster prize), and a bunch of times the mouse project has made progress.
Finally, how do I plan to stay level headed during 3rd year? Simply friends, exercise, and hobbies or just shopping for a new Schmoo. It’s of course so easy to get caught up in the excitement of things, but I have found it’s always good to stop and take stock every once in a while. I also finally got round to signing up to Spanish lessons through the University of Liverpool’s continuing education scheme – there are so many courses to choose from!
With that I’ll sign off, and get stuck in to 3rd year…