“It’s like we’re doing proper science”.

I’m currently sat in labs on a break. Just waiting for my platelets to rest, you know. They need some time out to recover from all the centrifuging and agitation that’s been going on since they were drained from our poor donor.

It’s occurred to me that I haven’t really spoken about what I do, other than study the rather vague ‘biology’ and am in the midst of my dissertation. By biology, firstly, I mean the molecular discipline of the field. I no longer do things like evolution, animals, plants etc. – instead I’m focused on how things work on a molecular level; cell to cell interactions, how they respond to one another, how they function together and what actually makes them function. It’s what is going on in the inside that keeps us up and running, basically.

So to be specific, modules I’m on at the moment include understanding cell communiction, so how they recognise each other and the diseases that can arise when recognition processes and interactions go wrong. Medical genetics, so how our genes influence our well being, and what diseases can occur when certain genes go wrong. Next term I start delving into mammalian reproduction, the biology of cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurobiology. Isn’t it exciting!!

For my dissertation, I’m working in a blood lab, which focuses on platelets as it’s core research area. I’m researching with my partner, vasopressin – an antidiuretic hormone which helps regulate water balance – and it’s effects on platelets if indeed there are any. See, noone’s really done it before. Or have mentioned it in passing in old literature but never pursued it to a point that the scientific community knows about it.

And as much as I moan and get ever so stressed about it all, I’m loving every second of it.

Excuse me now though, my platelets are ready to go play with.

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