It’s me again.

Basically, 2018 was an incredible year of good science, good trips and more than anything getting established within the consortium. I am thinking a summary of my year would be an interesting read.

I resumed my position as an ESR in January and so began the first months getting used to a new city (Valdivia) and work environment. I had a great support system with my PI and the lab and so it was a soft landing. Beginning in early March and ending in August, I participated in a very rigorous but enriching course program in Molecular and Cell Biology. It was a period of intense instruction and assessment. I got a thorough grounding in the field with emphasis on new and landmark findings and methods.

It was also a great experience participating in the ASSET food conference and summer school in Belfast in May. Though a little removed from my core field of Biology and more on the social aspects of nutrition, it was great to see how multidisciplinary approaches including those having their roots in molecular biology were being integrated into dealing with challenges in global food safety and security in the many posters presented. I also thoroughly enjoyed the public lecture by Dr. Juliet Legler highlighting the obesogenic effect of endocrine disruptors. In research, the metabolic effects of endocrine disruption are sometimes overlooked in favor of their reproductive or developmental effects. This lecture was useful in shining light on this aspect and may serve as a future research area for me.

I returned to Europe in September to participate in the toxicology course at INRA, Toulouse and for my secondment at GIGA, Liege. It was a great time meeting the other ESRs and meeting the team based at Toulouse and Liege. I gained new knowledge in biomarker discovery (the focus of my research) and the use of animal tissue explants and the zebrafish as models in toxicological research. My secondment was realised in the labs of Dr Marc Muller and Dr Marie-Louis Scippo. I got good practical experience working with zebrafish embryos and cell cultures as well as learning a number of useful ‘tricks’. Dr Muller was also very helpful in aligning my thesis research proposal (which I am required to formally present to my host Institute) with objectives of the project. Visiting Oslo for the winter school and network meeting was also a very pleasant experience. Oslo in December is THE ‘winter wonderland’!!.

In all, 2018 was a great year professionally. I matured as a researcher. I am grateful to be on such an excellent team as the PROTECTED one. Let me name drop my friends on the ESR team who went out of their way several times to make 2018 wonderful; Gustavo (Dr. Rouge ESR, Dr. Froggy, Dr. HappyOne and a million other crazy names he lets me call him), Tobi (Aburo), Que (Q like in the James Bond movies or KweKwe (when I try to get under her skin like I so often do ), Elizabeth and Maria. Wishing everyone the very best in 2019.


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