Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Caroline and I am a PhD student at the University of Sheffield. My research project focuses on Striga - a genus of parasitic plants that devastates harvests by infecting food crops. I am exploring the defence reactions that can make host plants more resistant against Striga. Due to my ongoing battles with anorexia, I haven't made as much progress as I would have liked but I am determined to finish the course.


This blog charts the ups and downs of life in the lab, plus my dreams to become a science communicator and forays into public engagement and science policy....all while trying to keep my mental and physical health intact. Along the way, I'll also be sharing new plant science stories, and profiles of some of the researchers who inspire me on this journey. So whether you have a fascination for plants, are curious about what science research involves, or just wonder what exactly I do all day, read on - I hope you find it entertaining!


Monday, 22 July 2013

IUPS 2013: Trade stands and exhibitors

As if the frightening amount of symposia weren't enough, IUPS 2013 is also the host of an industrial-scale trade exhibition, featuring companies producing the latest, cutting- edge research equipment, worldwide physiological societies and the eminent journals that many of the delegates will be aspiring to publish in. The key event on Monday was the launch of Physiological Reports, an open access journal and joint venture between The Physiological Society and the American Physiological Society. Although the ebullient atmosphere was probably mostly due to the free alcohol and canap├ęs, this event represents to me an exciting trend in publishing. Moving away from restricted access and yearly subscriptions towards more freely available platforms is surely the way to facilitate wider participation in all areas of science, besides physiology. For the GCSE or A Level teacher that doesn't have access to journals through Univeristy membership, this gives the opportunity to explore the latest developments in their especial areas of interest and pass these in turn to their young students. Likewise, diligent  pre-Univeristy  students can access high quality material to assist in producing coursework ( especially those taking the Advanced Extended Project). Greater scientific understanding is also available to nurses, journalists and the average member of the public who has been inspired by a scientific programme or news feature. As long as rigorous publishing criteria and the peer reviewed process is maintained, I believe these platforms will be instrumental in disseminating scientific discovery. I shall follow the success of Physiological Reports with interest!

Meanwhile I had to resist the temptation to pick up EVERY back- issue of physiology journals and posters that were freely available ( I still have a stack of Nature Journals to sort through at home...). I couldn't resist a brain cup from Novusbio Antibodies but I was disappointed not to win a cuddly giant neurone. I did manage to have a lovely chat with Peter Wagner, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Applied Physiology (which I have used more than once in Univeristy assignments!) who emphasised how physiology acts as the central bridge between molecular discoveries and clinical care. 

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