I have been working at the LMCB in Adolfo Saiardi lab since June 2005. I have joined the lab after finishing my PhD in Plant Pathology in Norwich, UK. At the time I wanted to change direction into a new research area and a new model system and I have found here the type of project and laboratory that I was looking for. I started as a Career Development Fellow for period of three years which was extended for another year and in June 2009 I had the great opportunity to become an Investigator Scientist. The Career Development Fellowships are fixed-term appointments based on a training program that enable post-docs to continue their development as researchers. As part of this training I enrolled in different courses such as “Research grant application” and “Writing scientific papers” that have already proven to be very useful. The LMCB is a welcoming and …that provides a great atmosphere to develop as a scientist. The fact that the lab is located in Central London, an in particular within the University College campus, a centre of scientific excellence, allow us to be part of a growing community of scientists with common interests and where collaborations are encouraged and easy to established.
In 2007 a group of post-docs formed what is called the “post-doc voice” which I am an active member ever since. This is a way to bring the institute’s post-docs together so that we can more easily share our experiences. There are five main aspects to this group. We organize themed post-doc evenings; we are represented in the group leaders meetings; we chair the internal seminar series; we organize post-doc drinks with the external seminar speakers; and we host an external seminar speaker a year. In the themed post-docs evenings we invite external speakers to talk to us about different subjects. Themes such as “inspirational scientists”, “research grant applications” and “alternative careers in science” are just a few examples of what we have organized. These meetings are quite informal and generally take place four times a year where we all sit around in our coffee room with beers and pizza and discuss. My active part in this group is to represent the post-docs at the group leaders meetings.
These meetings are held several times a year and cover a large agenda of the day-to-day running of the institute and this has given us the opportunity to express our concerns and to have a voice in many of aspects or the day-to-day life of the institute. Since this year we have started chairing our internal seminar series to introduce the speakers and to stimulate more discussion. As part of our external seminar series we are also encouraged to have informal discussions with the invited speakers in a relaxed atmosphere over a drink in a local Pub. This has been a great way to interact with scientists from all sorts of areas and to learn from their scientific experiences. As a group we also have the chance to choose, invite and host an outstanding scientist a year for the Institute’s external seminar series. During this visit post-docs are in charge! This is generally a one day visit in which we have 30 min slots where we can talk individually about our work both in the morning and afternoon. At lunch the speaker is taken out by a few students. There is an afternoon talk by the speaker followed by informal drinks with the Group Leaders and an evening dinner with a few post-docs. This interaction has proven over the years an extraordinary experience to all of us.
Scientifically the laboratory offers a multidisciplinary environment with people from all over the world. There is a friendly atmosphere, great facilities, especially if you project involves a lot of microscopy, and the institute is small enough that you get to know everyone by name. The core facilities, such as the media kitchen, are a great asset of the institute and greatly facilitates our every day life.
Life is good and science is fun at the LMCB!