Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at the Norwich Research Park and get them to share three songs in a desert island disc-style game: one song that captures their project (expect some very tenuous links), one song that captures their life as a PhD student and a final motivational song because – let’s face it – we all need it. 

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 11.36.05Joanna is a 1st year Rotation PhD student from Edmonton, AB in Canada, working in Jonathan Jones’ lab at The Sainsbury Laboratory. Her project involves suppressor screens to look for novel genetic components of downstream immune signaling in plants. When she’s not obsessing over phytopathology she’s playing bluegrass guitar and mandolin, or she’s at the gym.

Twitter: @jofeehan


The Project Song – Shimmy Shimmy Ya by Ol’ Dirty Bastard

“Here I am at the beginning of my PhD, having just a week or two ago decided on a final lab and project after rotating. Yeah, “oh, baby I like [my data] raw”, is on the nose as any data I have is pretty crude, but really, this song is all about getting hyped on myself for the next three years. Thanks, ODB.”

The PhD Life Song – One More Dollar by Gillian Welch

“This song resonates with my current situation; moving far away, from my beautiful home in Alberta, to pursue an adventure (hard labor) with plants (apple picking). And the fear of ending up destitute and having to make money through gambling (in the stock market) seems like a real possibility.”

The Motivational Song – Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

“A classic. Whenever I’m feeling like my PhD needs to be put in its place, I’ll just put this song on and montage myself running PCRs and westerns and lunging down the hallways of TSL. I have definitely not done that yet.”


The PhD playlist is the brainchild of Millie, whose obsession with making playlists is almost as great as her obsession with science. Follow her on twitter: @milliestanton and drop her an email if you’re interested in being featured!

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