I am very excited about the launch of Portland Press’s new journal Neuronal Signaling, which will publish research articles on all aspects of communication within the nervous system, and, crucially, make these articles available online for everyone to read. One aspect of Neuronal Signaling that is particularly appealing to me is the intention to produce lay summaries of some of the articles. The aim of this is to explain to the public, in non-scientific language, the meaning of the research and the impact that it may have to patients and to society.
Communicating science to the public is something that interests me greatly. As scientists working in biological research, we strive to cure disease and disability, to help people live for longer with able bodies and able minds, and to improve the world in which we live. This boils down to a fundamental aim of enhancing the lives of each individual and of society. To achieve this aim, we must strive to always keep that individual in mind when designing and conducting experiments. Continue reading →
Everything was defined in a scientific business context (no communication to lay audiences here) and after two and a half days of active listening, transactional analysis, thinking about relative needs and head-down building roadmaps for hard negotiations we wanted more!
Step one: ignore the other party and decide what you want. Oh so easy to say, but so hard to do. In detail. More detail. The more detail I write down, the more flexible I can be in my negotiation (apparently).
Step two: place an ambition on everything – in the ideal world how much lab space do I want, what equipment do I need access to, what would I like to be paid…
Step three: what are my limits? For what things is there a point at which I will stop and walk away? What is that point? Would I really walk away for one unit lower?
Step four: what other criteria don’t have limits but are ‘important’? What information would it be in my interest for the other person to know about me? (Make a list, make sure you tell them!) What questions do I have? (Questions must be facts, and can’t be negotiation points – don’t put the same thing in two places…).
Only once I know all of this can I even talk to the other side (or so I learned). Continue reading →
By Daniela Lobo, PhD Student, University of Warwick
Shortly after I started my PhD, someone told me that I would be able to explain my project to any audience if I could explain it to a 13-year-old. Children can act very similarly to scientists – they are often curious, stubborn and inquisitive. Children ask you the awkward questions. Children won’t easily drop the “why?” until things make sense to them.
I am based in the Biophysical Chemistry group at the University of Warwick – among other things, we are interested on the chemical and optical properties of a virus and how to design and modify it to explore certain cardiovascular phenomena or how to use it as a new platform for pathogen detection. Sometimes I find it difficult to explain my project to other scientists and I often find it necessary to draw or move my hands around to do so – explaining it to a child via a computer could prove to be an extremely difficult task for me. Continue reading →
By Emma Pettengale, Commissioning Editor, Portland Press
According to the World Health Organisation, as of 2014 over 600 million adults worldwide are obese, with obesity posing a significant risk to individuals for diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis and some cancers.
It’s not just about how much you eat and exercise, molecular factors play a part – the genes you inherited from your parents might pre-dispose you to have an increased risk of obesity, interactions between the environment and your genes have a role and energy balance is not a simple equation.
By Lucy Sharples, Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), University of Sheffield
The 1st of July 2016 marked yet another successful Open day at the Sheffield Institute of Translational Neuroscience (SITraN), University of Sheffield. The main research focus at this world-leading centre of neuroscience is motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
As a new PhD student here, I participated in a fantastic opportunity to reveal the behind the scenes of laboratory research to the general public including patients and carers. After a selection of talks about ongoing projects and recent discoveries, the guests were taken round the labs on a series of workstations to gain some hands on experience. Continue reading →