Zoom order of the day

23 01 2021

Since lockdown started again, we’ve given up the porch for lab meetings, resuming (reZooming?) doing everything online. With everyone being in a grid on the screen, I used to go round the lab members in sensible orders, like alphabetical by first or last name, but have gradually drifted (via height, shoe size and number of cousins) to “how weird was your Christmas out of 10?”. Today’s order? “How many Bernie memes have you seen today?”, from Michelle …. who was at one far extreme with around 1000, me and Prathipa being at the “say what now?” other end with zero! It’s been fun catching up since….

Silliness aside, congratulations to Aileen and Andrea for getting abstracts submitted to the UFAW summer meeting, to Andrea again for getting a job interview with the ever-impressive Animal Charity Evaluators, to Jess and coworkers for finishing the last quality checks in her giant meta-analysis, and to Michelle for finding a nice effect of differential housing in zebrafish: for females (at least; males are weird), enrichment makes them less anxious.

Congratulations to Lindsey!

5 01 2021

Unsurprisingly, Lindsey passed her MSc today today with flying colours! Here we at the end are with Alexandra Harlander, who chaired the defence, Elena Choleris, her committee member, and additional examiner Lee Niel. Thanks so much for your great questions everyone!

Lindsey’s practice defence and welcome Prathipa!

5 01 2021

Lindsey (pictured below R with the still-adorable Simon) gave her practice defence talk this morning, as her big day is tomorrow. So here are some of us (L) winding down after 2.5 hours of discussion, including Prathipa who started today, joining us in her evening from Chennai (from her littlest daughter’s bedroom: that’s a butterfly decal behind her head). Welcome Prathipa, and good luck Lindsey!!

Made it!

4 01 2021

As a nice end to miserable 2020, my H-index reached 50 …. PLUS I received a long-deserved invitation to write for a nuclear physics journal. And about time too. (Happy new year everyone!)

Fame on Twitter!

19 12 2020


“Can’t stop won’t stop”‘s been a surprising hit, but I have to say I don’t even like it much any more. It plus my first ever paper (30 years old next year) are in need of a serious update… a project for 2021.

The Bruce Effect: discovered by a Sheila

17 12 2020

The Bruce Effect is famous in mice (it’s the one where females exposed to a dominant male spontaneously terminate their pregnancies), and has since been found in other species too. I had always assumed it was discovered by a man. Why? Is it the name? (am I secretly Australian)? The fact that science from the past is always male dominated? Or – scarier – had implicit bias skewed my judgment? But a couple of weeks ago, Michelle’s lectures for ANSC*3090 taught me that in fact it was discovered by Hilda Bruce, a British Zoologist who – to have been so successful in the first half of the 20th century – must have been quite outstanding. Feel a bit sheepish for not knowing this before, but also very happy to learn about this pioneer.

Congratulations to (Little) Emma

17 12 2020

Emma Nip’s dream job was made permanent last week: her year long contract turned into a permanent position as a provincial animal welfare inspector!

One step closer for Prathipa!

17 12 2020

Prathipa got her offer letter at last! So she’s all ready to start in Jan., with her nice GTS award, though she and family won’t move here til end of April/early May (from Chennai to months of snow being a bit much for the kids, especially during a pandemic).

And congratulations to Aileen!

15 12 2020

Aileen passed her QEs to perfection this morning! (Great, thoughtful questions from all her examiners too). This was also my lab’s first IB hurdle (now we’re all moved over save for Lindsey), and it was fine: phew.

Congratulations to Michelle!

15 12 2020

Michelle finished 4 days of fish testing today (after 2 days of pilots and trouble-shooting, working out how to run a Novel Tank Test and Light-Dark Test back to back, in an efficient production line). That’s two cohorts now all done (in a process she describes as ‘stressful yet boring’), with the third one to be tested in Jan. So far preferred environments sadly don’t seem to enhance brain development (another hypothesis bites the dust) so let’s really hope they reduce fearfulness at least.