research

Research Culture: Changing Expectations

(Part 2 of 2)

It’s now been two weeks since I attended the Royal Society’s Research Culture - Changing Expectations meeting and it’s amazing how many topics from the meetings have come up organically in conversations with other academics, particularly early career researchers. I’ve already written about a few of these in my earlier post and in this post I’ll summarise some key topics from the second day. As mentioned in my last post this and my last post are a brief summary of just some of the ideas and messages that particularly spoke to me.

Research Culture: Changing Expectations

(Part 1 of 2)

Earlier this week (29-30th October 2018) I attended a meeting at the Royal Society (London) with an aim of considering the UK scientific research culture - identifying challenges, highlighting best practice and considering what the future UK research culture can and should be. This meeting is a culmination of a two year programme of events and consultations (see here). The meeting was full of inspiring speakers and great ideas and this and my next post are a really very brief summary of just some of the ideas and messages that particularly spoke to me. I have referenced speakers throughout but some of these points may be my own interpretation and opinion.

Imaging the Beating Heart in Zebrafish

2018 has been a busy year so far (and I expect it will stay that way) but I’ve finally made time to write another blog post (and also to move my blog into my personal website). Given that so far this year I’ve spoken about my current research - imaging the beating zebrafish heart - to audiences of academics, the public & students I thought it was about time to do a blog post summarising said research. Hopefully this short post will provide you with an idea of what we’re trying to achieve, why and how we’re going about it (although I’ve kept off too much detail for now).

Better Imaging of Living Animals and the 3Rs

Recently, I was explaining my research to another academic from a different field. I was describing how, when imaging living animals under the microscope, we strive to keep laser power levels to the minimum needed. The question I got in return was: “Is that for the animal’s sake or for the imaging?”. And of course the answer is both - in general, I find that good science and better microscopy align very well with performing more humane animal research. This article is about how researchers are working to improve animal research by minimising numbers used, sharing animals and data and refining experimental procedures. This is not an article on whether or not animal experimentation should or should not be done; that is a matter of personal ethics. However, should you be interested in the rules and regulations surrounding animal research in the UK, I would suggest you start with Understanding Animal Research [1] and the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (the NC3RS) [2].

Let There be Light... but Not Too Much

Phototoxicity in Microscopy

An essential aspect to microscopy is light. Early microscopes used ambient light or used mirrors to reflect light, either from the sun or a candle, onto the sample of interest. With the inventions [1] of the electric light bulb additional, artificial light sources could be used and the light from lamps could be focussed onto samples with much greater control.