The PhD Playlist – John

Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at JIC 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. 

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John in a 1st Year PhD student working in Paul Nicholson’s lab. He’s looking at a number of approaches to control Fusarium Head Blight in wheat. More specifically, he’s working on identifying important plant hormone signalling pathways including hormone manipulation strategies by Fusarium, and combining these with fungicide application. John is half Greek and Spanish but lived in Oxford for most of his life. He loves a good game of squash every now and then.


The Project Song – Invaders Must Die by The Prodigy

“Despite the different nature of this song to my other choices, I felt its title best describes the theme of my project. In order to stop the ever-growing horde of invading pathogens, a combination of control strategies need to be used. With my project, limiting infection and development of Fusarium when wheat is at is most susceptible is one key way to control the invasion.”

The PhD Life Song – Precious Time by The Maccabees

“Unfortunately, time is a constraint to all PhD projects. Time is always on my mind from designing experiments to seeing if its lunch yet. Despite having four years to complete my PhD, I feel like its relatively short and every second of it is precious. It is also amazing that for every deadline, we somehow manage to get things done on time!”

The Motivational Song – Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters

“Who doesn’t like a bit of Foo Fighters in their life! This song can be played at loads of occasions and always manages to improve the mood (especially if you watch the Rockin1000 video!).”


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!

The PhD Playlist – Aisling


Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at JIC 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 2017-05-18 at 11.27.13Aisling is a 3rd year Rotation PhD student working in Myriam Charpentier’s lab. Her project looks at the evolution of symbiosis in land plants and involves growing a lot of liverworts and molecular phylogenetics. Originally from Dublin she likes fluffy animals and making cakes

Twitter: @liverwortlife


The Project Song – Closer by Tegan and Sara

My research looks at arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis, where fungi in the soil supply plants with mineral nutrients in exchange for fixed carbon (mostly delicious fats). This relationship between plants and fungi is really very close indeed because the fungus has to grow into the cells in the middle of a plant to exchange nutrients. Plants don’t always want to trade away their lovely fixed carbon though – they might be getting enough minerals by themselves – but the fungus always wants to “get a little bit closer” with the plant because it isn’t able to get food any other way.

 This song also reminds me of symbiosis because it’s about the moment just before two people touch. In AM symbiosis, the plant and fungus exchange signals and start changing gene expression before they physically come into contact. It’s a pretty important time for both of them!”

The PhD Life Song – Boy Problems by Carly Rae Jepsen

“Really, this would better describe my PhD life if the title was PCR Problems, not Boy Problems. That said, this is a really upbeat, sassy song  – everyone has boy (PCR) problems at some point but, after you whinge about it to your friend, you realise that your boy (PCR) problems aren’t really so bad. You break up with your boyfriend (order some new PCR primers), stop lurking in your bedroom and move on. Eventually you and your female friends (fellow PhD students, of all genders) are happily dancing together, surrounded by glitter. Or you go for a drink after work on Friday. Anything is possible.”

The Motivational Song – My Shot from the Hamilton soundtrack

“Look, if Alexander Hamilton can rise from a penniless, orphaned immigrant to the first secretary of the treasury of the United States of America, I can probably power through an afternoon of hairy root transformations, right? And hey, Alex might still be a work in progress, he may not have his degree yet but he’s not going to stop working and writing and picking fights with the other founding fathers until he makes it. So I’m going to carry on writing my scientific reports, even though I’m actually a bit tired and frustrated with my referencing software. (Hamilton didn’t even have referencing software.)”


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!

The PhD Playlist – Marie

Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at JIC 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. 

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Marie is a fourth i.e. final year PhD student working with Lars Østergaard in Crop Genetics. Her project started by looking at pod length diversity in Brassica napus (which includes oilseed rape) and has since led her down a long meandering path to look at embryo development and the cell cycle. She has grown up in Belgium but sadly only started liking beer after she moved away so is now working on tasting her way through the great Belgian beers!

Twitter: @MaBruser


The Project Song – Highs and Lows by Emeli Sandé

“I tried to find a song related to oilseed rape, embryos and the cell cycle but perhaps unsurprisingly, I couldn’t find any that touched on this topic (please get in touch if you have one up your sleeve!). Instead, I chose Highs and Lows because that definitely describes what I’ve gone through! A PhD seems to be a constant rollercoaster – the project changes and leads you down new roads, experiments fail, results don’t show what you expect… but it also makes you super excited when something does work, when you have a phenotype, when genes are expressed where you hoped… and overall there are definitely more highs than lows!”

The PhD Life Song – Fighter by Christina Aguilera

“It’s an old one but that doesn’t stop me from getting a buzz from it every time I listen to it! This song makes me determined to succeed, to re-run that PCR that hasn’t worked 6 times, to go and sample what feels like a million plants for DNA extraction and to get the perfect image to show what I want it to. And my PhD has definitely made me stronger, wiser and smarter!”

The Motivational Song – Bare Necessities from the Jungle Book

“Who doesn’t like this song?! This actually became my motivational song when I started my PhD as someone in the lab was in her final year and being stressed and so we began pinging this song to each other on a bad day. It still gets me every time and it’s a song I don’t mind having stuck in my head all day long. So just “forget about your worries and your strife”!”

 


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!

The PhD Playlist – Billy A.

Each week we put the spotlight on a PhD student at JIC 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. 

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Billy is a third year rotation student working in the lab of Xiaoqi Feng. His project focuses on the tapetum and involves epigenetic studies and single cell sequencing. Originally from East London, loves brewing, wine, and gardening.

Twitter: @Billy_Aldridge


The Project Song – I Would Do Anything For Love (but I won’t do that) by Meatloaf

“I work on the tapetum, a tissue that surrounds the male germline. I think of the tapetum as the plant cell type you’d want to be best friends with. Not only does it provide nutrients for the developing germline but it also creates the pollen coat, make sure the germline is wrapped up warm before it ventures out into the big bad world. Once it has completed its job it even dies so the pollen can be released (aww). What a great guy!

My project is specifically looking at how the tapetum can influence the germline epigenome through the movement of sRNAs. It seems the tapetum will literally do anything for love, but will it do that? I guess I’m gonna have to find out.”

The PhD Life Song – Wanderlust by Björk 

“Björk is my favourite artist of all time and her music is a real source of inspiration for me, so I had to pick one of her songs for the #PhDPlaylist. I chose wanderlust for its sense of discovery, of leaving comfort behind and stepping out into the wider world. As PhD students I think that’s something we can all relate to, not just scientifically but also in discovering our place in the world. Are we still care-free students or are we proper adults? I haven’t got an answer for that one yet.

The amazing music video also took over 9 months to create so of course it fits with a PhD.”

The Motivational Song – MacArthur Park by Donna Summer

“Dramatic, loud, and lyrically weird. I don’t know when I became obsessed with this song but I love it so much. I now try to sneak it onto playlists at parties so I can have a little lip sync and shout at anyone who dares turn it off. This definitely channels my 1½ bottles of red “Shut up, this song is all about me” vibes, but that’s something we all need every now and again.”


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!

The PhD Playlist – Nicola

In a new weekly article, we put the spotlight on a PhD student at JIC 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.

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Nicola is a 2nd year PhD student in Tony Miller’s lab working on improving nitrogen use efficiency. Her research focuses mainly on forage crops with her iCASE funding coming from BAGCD. Originally from Newcastle, still adjusting to life down south.

Twitter @NicolaCapstaff


The Project Song – Cap in Hand by The Proclaimers

“Although this song has absolutely nothing to do with running q-PCRs or using nitrate sensors in soil, it’s the song which most reflects my PhD. All the proclaimer’s songs have an earthy, outdoor feel to them and Cap in Hand always makes me want to go outside; as I spend some of my time on farms this seems apt. Moreover the song is about a fight for freedom (yes it was the song for ‘vote Yes’ in the Scottish Referendum), which speaks to me in our scholarly quest for more knowledge to break down those biological inefficiency barriers.”

The PhD Life Song – B.H.S. by Sleaford Mods

“This past year I’ve really struggled getting to grips with my project, basically a classic case of the 2nd year slump. This song was listened to A LOT, for the angst and also the brutal lyrics. “We’re going down like BHS while the able bodied vultures monitor and pick at us” – who doesn’t think that’s how a PhD feels sometimes?!

P.S. My project blues are behind me (for the time being at least) so if I was allowed another song it would be Black Magic by Little Mix, just to prove I’m not totally depressing all the time and it’s a wicked tune.

P.P.S. I will not acknowledge anyone who disagrees about Little Mix being the pioneers of modern British music.”

The Motivational Song – Cream by Prince

“I LOVE PRINCE and playing any of his songs gets my motivation on to work, or at least dance in my lab chair. If I get control of music in the Rec expect a sexy Prince tune like Cream.”


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!