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Showing posts with the label phd

Are doctoral candidates switched on to the impact of social media?

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Early in 2015 I conducted a bit of research about social media use at my institution (the University of Aberdeen). It was presented at the UK Council for Graduate Education, 2nd International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education & Training Conference in 2015. I wrote up the findings and they were recently published in the proceedings. There are interesting papers covering all different areas of graduate training. The abstract for my paper is below and you can download the proceedings (my paper is on page 93).   by    Jhaymesisviphotography Are doctoral candidates switched on to the impact of social media?  Dr Heather Doran* and Dr Kenneth D. Skeldon *Corresponding author, University of Aberdeen, King’s College, Regent Walk, Old Aberdeen, AB24 3FX Abstract It might be assumed that today’s doctoral students are aware of and active in the use of social media tools in the course of their work. Here we question whether doctoral students are really util

How to Be A Social Media Wizz: Top Tips for Researchers

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I have written a Buzzfeed post of the 10 top tips I have gathered from science communicators, universities and science writers in the US and Canada... click on the image below to be taken through to the guide. I hope you find it useful. This list was compiled as I undertook my Churchill Travel Fellowship. I also wrote up some good example case studies and how to plan a social media engagement strategy on the LSE Impact Blog .  I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supported me and met with me during my Fellowship. Everyone I met was so open about discussing what they do. I was worried that people wouldn't want to speak openly to a stranger who was external to their organisation but that wasn't the case at all. Every single person I interacted with was incredibly welcoming. Their thoughts and views have definitely impacted on me and how I will approach everything in the future. Many discussions included not only the focus of the sharing of science a

Churchill Fellowship: Toronto and the Social Media Lab

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Ah, beautiful Toronto. I wasn't expecting to fall in love with this city as much as I did, but I really did. I met some fantastic people and had some great discussions about the use of social media for public engagement with science.* *disclaimer, there are lots of city skyline shots in this blog post.   I spent a good four days in Toronto exploring over the weekend and meeting with scientists and staff at the University of Toronto and speaking with the fantastic Social Media Lab at Ryerson University . I was invited to speak at the Ryerson University Social Media Lab about my Churchill Fellowship. I've included my slides and a YouTube video of my talk 'How scientists are using social media'  at the bottom of this post.  Toronto by day    Toronto by night The space they have in the Social Media Lab is great (it's based within offices once lived-in by Google). I tried out one of the 'chairs' in the image below although thankfull

Churchill Fellowship Science Online: Visiting MIT and BABY LOBSTERS

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I packed my bags and headed to Boston this week for the first part of my Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship to investigate how scientists are using social media to connect with the public. Here's a round-up of the first part of my trip There were stunning views from the flight all the way to Boston. Hotel accommodation in Boston is super-expensive so I tried out Airbnb for the first time. It was really easy to find an Airbnb place located half-way between Harvard and MIT in Cambridge despite the lack of affordable hotels in this area. The apartment is lovely and my hosts were great. I'm definitely going to be using Airbnb more. I was pretty exhausted after the flight and so having a nice place to relax and rest was just what I needed. Cambridge is a great area full of coffee shops and leafy streets. I got to know the area well on foot. It's easy to navigate and feels like around every corner is a lovely coffee shop, perfect for a cup-of tea and a t

Are PhD students 'switched on' to social media?

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Do you presume that all PhD students are using social media to network and talk about their research work? In March I presented at the 2nd International Conference on Developments in Doctoral Education and Training about the use of social media by PhD Students.   by    Jhaymesisviphotography   The conference focused on all elements of studying for a doctorate around the globe but this year they included a focus on  'Doctoral Candidates in the Digital Age' . There were a number of really interesting presentations and talks on this theme (all linked to below). We presented a talk based on a small study of social media use by researchers here in Aberdeen. For this we focused on the results from the PhD students about their social media use. Many presume that the current cohort of students are using social media proficiently for their own benefit. I don't think that tells a true story so wanted to explore what they were doing in more detail. Are doctoral cand

Read my thesis and let's chat about sharing research

Follow my blog with Bloglovin So my thesis has been published online on the University of Aberdeen Library page. You can read it by clicking here .  It has the very snappy title 'GPR30 and ERĪ±36 and their potential role in breast and endometrial cancers' This is my lay abstract: Oestrogen is a hormone that is mostly associated with the development of sexual organs and the female monthly menstrual cycle. However, it is also known to play a role in breast cancer. The presence of oestrogen can make some breast cancers grow and in the 1970s ‘anti-oestrogens’, like tamoxifen, were developed which have successfully prevented the growth of some breast cancers by blocking the action of oestrogen. Oestrogen causes this growth by binding to specific ‘receptors’ in the body. The anti-oestrogens work by blocking the oestrogen binding to the receptor. Some breast cancers do not have the receptors and therefore can’t be treated with anti-oestrogens. These types of cancers tend to be

The end of the PhD

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My PhD has been printed off, handed in, examined, corrected, printed off again in hardbound form, signed off, handed back in and I have graduated. AT LAST!!! This is my last post about the PhD (I think!) and goes through some coping mechanisms I developed at the end when I was juggling finishing off with a full time job... Me and my younger sister at my graduation The end of the PhD was hard work. It's a long, time consuming process that I have mentioned previously . I'm currently working as a project officer in public engagement with research, my job involves evenings, weekends and general odd hours. Juggling both the job and the PhD was a bit tricky at times, but just about manageable. I had to allocate work, PhD and free time effectively and stop doing a number of things that I enjoy. I haven't spoken to friends or family as much as I wanted to. Finding time to write blogs that required research was tricky as I just didn't have the time. There were a numb

What would an independent Scotland mean for UK Science and Technology?

I'm not going to pretend to know a lot about Scottish politics because I don't. But I am interested in what impact independence would have on science and technology - not just in Scotland but across the UK as whole. Science and technology funding comes from Westminster and the research councils that allocate this funding are UK wide. An independent Scotland could mean a complete reorganisation of the councils and funding allocations, which would affect science and technology across the whole of the UK. Last month I attended Science and The Parliament  in Edinburgh. An event organised by the RSC that brings politicians, policy makers, scientists and research councils together. Jolly good event. The event finished with a panel debate that tackled the question  'What would happen to science and technology in Scotland if it became independent'.  A brief overview of the debate and discussion would be that Scotland has a rich history of good science and technology an

Seeing Cells

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Science images are becoming commonplace on social networks. But how are these beautiful, artistic images made and what use are they in research? Human cells stained and probed for DNA, actin and protein. I (Heather Doran) took this image -  please don't reuse it.  I've taken quite a few images throughout my PhD. So many my university computer struggles under the weight of them. I've been taking microscopic images of cells to understand how the cell cytoskeleton allows them to move. And it has been one of the most interesting and favourite parts of my PhD project. There are a number of ways of creating these images. The images all represent one or two components of the cell. Cells need to be fixed (in a fixative, like methanol or paraformaldehyde, to preserve them and the proteins and structures inside the cell). Different fixatives can be used depending on what it is you are looking for and how you are looking for it. Fixatives stop all movement, any re

Social Media and the PhD

These are the slides I used for the session on social media and the PhD at the  PhD Journey Conference  in Aberdeen.     If you are interested in learning more about social media you might want to look at my: online tools for conferences how to use twitter

Should Scientists Be Audited?

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I often wonder if  scientists (working on any project) in a university should be audited regularly. Audited by an independent person who is independent of the specific project, subject and research group. The scientists in question would have to show that they can trace the ingredients they are using for experiments and prove that results are real (maybe the auditor would sit in on an experiment). Would it help prevent mistakes, incorrect data, reduce paper retractions and increase credibility of science in general? Or would it just be a big waste of time, money and be a painful process for everyone involved? What do you think? When I worked in industry, we were regularly audited in everything we did. I used to exist in a form of organised chaos, but knowing that anyone could ask to look at anything at any time (and they did), I became super organised. It's a necessary, and very useful skill to have as a scientist but there isn't any pressure on me within

Blog Review! Ed Yong's 'It's Not Exactly Rocket Science' in Au Science Mag

I wrote this 'Blog Review' for the latest edition of Au Science Magazine published in June 2012 (more info below)   Move over books, it’s the Age of the Internet, and blogs are the literature of choice.  These aren’t the blogs of the Myspace era that shared too much information about teen troubles, break-ups and parent problems. The new wave of blogs are well written, informative, can help keep you up-to-date with the latest and greatest, or quite simply exist to provide entertainment. And as we are Au Science Magazine , I have taken a look at some of the science blogs out there in the crazy land of the Internet.  Science blogs are often hosted by expert science writers and/or scientists. They debunk the latest news stories, explain the latest research as it is published and, best of all; they are easily readable on a quick lunch break.  Quite possibly the biggest science blog cheerleader is Ed Yong. An award-winning British science writer who has written for

What Does a Biologist Do All Day?

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I'm a molecular pharmacologist, but what on earth does that mean I do at 10am on a Monday? The vast majority of my PhD in Medical Sciences has been spent in a dark room, counting. Counting breast cancer cells that have moved. YES, moved. Let's start at the beginning. I work with breast cancer cells that have been taken from a donor who had breast cancer. Cancer cells can be grown in a laboratory environment if you give them the correct nutrients and keep them at the correct temperature, a cosy 37 degrees, just like in the body. The cells I use were collected back in the 1970s and have been kept growing in the lab ever since. Cancer cells can be grown on a flat surface (or in a solution), in plastic dishes, like this: The cells grow in 'media', a solution that contains all the nutrients they need to grow. The media is usually pink as it contains phenol-red, an indicator that changes colour if the pH of the media changes (pH needs to be around 7.2-7.4 for op

How to use Twitter

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If you ever meet me in person I can, sometimes, sound like a broken record. I am somewhat.. persistent.. in my efforts to get every single PhD student I meet on, and using, Twitter. Surprisingly, although my generation is labelled as being, 'social networkers' the vast majority of people I know and meet are not on Twitter. Facebook yes. Twitter no. Twitter is for weirdos and celebrity stalkers. Oh my friends, how much you are missing out. Do you know that Professors are on Twitter? PIs are on Twitter? Post-docs are ADVERTISED and links made for post docs in the future are made through Twitter. (Sometimes I get a *gasp* at this stage, especially if the person I am talking to is a final year PhD student). Next question, so how do you DO it? How do you USE it? What happens in Twitter world? My response.. Twitter is what ever you want to make it, and it is up to you how you use it. You could use it to talk to the other three people in your lab and your mum. If you wanted to.