Tell us a bit about yourself – what stage of your PhD are you in and what’s your project about?I’m a Canadian PhD student studying at the University of Leeds previously I completed my Honour’s and Master’s of Science in Biological Sciences at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and before that my Bachelor’s of Science at the University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Canada. I’ve recently completed my PhD and will be submitting my final hardbound copy of my thesis in January. My project sought to characterize diurnal rhythms of gene expression in a spinal cord cell type, the sympathetic preganglionic neuron.
What does a typical day or week look like for you?I usually worked 10 hours per day depending on the types of experiments I conducted or training courses I attended. My time was split between experiments in the lab and analysis/writing performed at my desk.
What’s one thing that you’ve enjoyed the most during your PhD?The numerous techniques and skills I’ve employed during my PhD project.
What’s been the most challenging part of it?Characterizing diurnal rhythms meant carrying out experiments during the evening which usually ran late. Having to do several of these experiments each week meant my sleep was quite disrupted but I was able to cope by changing my sleep/work schedule to compensate for these later hours.
Where do you see yourself 5 years after completing your PhD?I’ll be carrying out research at an academic institution or in industry.
What’s one piece of advice that you’d offer students that are thinking of doing a PhD?Ensure the PhD project you are applying for is something you really are passionate about. A PhD is essentially a job, if you aren’t interested in the project it means you won’t enjoy your PhD and you’ll be wasting your time.
What makes your university a good place to study?The University of Leeds offers the chance to collaborate with people in different schools to tackle research questions. There is a strong drive for collaborating not only within your school but with people working in other schools as well to expand your general knowledge but also your knowledge of techniques you can employ to answer scientific questions.The facilities available at the university housed equipment that were essential for completing experiments or analysis of results.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?I really enjoyed bouldering in my free time, Leeds offers a number of climbing facilities.
Want to know more about Christian?Check out his ResearchGate and Twitter profiles using the linkings below: