Dominick Burton: First impressions

It has now been four months since I started my Marie Curie Fellowship at Aston University.  So what are my impressions and what have I undertaken so far?  First off, it was great to see such a culturally diverse number of students studying at Aston University despite many being stressed due to the exam period. Within the Griffiths lab there were students from Portugal, Egypt and Nigeria.  I personally believe that a culturally diverse working environment makes life more interesting and provides the opportunity to learn more about people from all walks of life.  Life would be so boring if we were all the same.

As for the science, I found Aston University to be well equipped for me to fulfil all my experimental goals.  I am also taking advantage of the expertise of some the researchers here to investigate aspects of my work I would not have even thought possible if I were not exposed to it during my time here so far.  In addition, I also discovered that there are labs here at Aston University that I was initially unaware of before my arrival that have particular expertise in aspects of my project proposal and as such have generated some interesting preliminary data for ongoing collaborate endeavours.  I am also learning a lot more about immunology which was a particular goal of mine during this Fellowship.   In addition I will be undertaking a phlebotomy course so that I can withdrawal blood in order to isolate primary immune cells.

Whilst my research was initially off to a slow start, it is now beginning to pick up and I hope to generate some interesting data over the coming months.  Along with my lab research I was invited to write a book chapter on cellular senescence, ageing and metabolic disease, so I will have plenty to keep me busy.  Luckily I have a research scholar (Badr Ibrahim) volunteering in the lab to help with aspects of my work whilst he looks for a postdoctoral position.  In my next blog I will discuss more specifically about my research area, so please check back.