Featured Day in the Life of: Katherine, PhD student research non-small cell lung cancer

Hello all! I am a 2nd-year PhD candidate from the Queensland University of Technology based at the Translational Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia. I have a Bachelor of Biomedical Science (BBiomSci) and an Honours in Biomedical Sciences (BBiomSci Hons). My research focuses on finding ways to prevent or delay disease relapse in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have been treated with target therapeutics. If we can determine what is causing this patient relapse, then perhaps we can better stratify patient treatments. Outside of the lab, I love to teach, read, garden, and get creative with water-colour painting or embroidery! CLICK HERE FOR INSTAGRAM


6:35 am

I often get to work between 6:30 and 7:30 am. I take secret pleasure in being the first one in the office/lab for the day and enjoy the quiet time it gives me to get myself in the zone and get ready to get a lot of work done for the day. This morning, I used the time before everyone else arrives at work to do any intensive reading/writing/planning or sensitive experiments that I knew I won’t be able to get done once the lab was bustling with noise and distractions.

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8:37 am

After 1-2 hours of work, I often head into the tissue culture to check on my lovely, little non-small cell lung cancer cells and make sure they are in healthy condition for the experiments I’ve planned for the week or am yet to set up for. Today I would usually be teaching a final year undergraduate class but they’re currently on break, so I had and extra few hours today to get my experiments planned out and my equipment booked. Here’s a pic of what I would be doing every other Tuesday at this time!


9:21 am

Whilst waiting on my time points or incubations I’ll head back to my desk and tick off any emails that need replying to and stick off any small admin tasks that can be done whilst waiting.

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9:44 am 

Today, however, the allure of a coffee break was way too good to ignore, so my incubation-time productivity session was short lived in preference for a yummy hot chocolate!

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11:05 am

In addition to the early morning desk work, I try to fit in one or two other smaller desk/admin tasks to complete in my day during incubations or experiment time points. Today, I was working on editing my contribution to a literature review that a few members in my lab are putting together for publication.

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2:26 pm

Post-lunch and literature-review fun times, I squeezed in some tissue culture today and set up for some future experiments to be completed later this week.

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3:08 pm

I also spent some of the mid-afternoon re-imaging some of my immunofluorescence experiments to try and pull more data out of them.

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3:32 pm

The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up on literature and realigning my project with the current literature.

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4:02 pm

Whilst it’s good to work hard during your PhD, I am also of the mind that you should also ‘rest hard’. So, considering I was in the lab at 6:35 am this morning, I left the lab early and headed home for some rest and relaxation.

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5:16 pm

This meant pottering around and tending to my little balcony garden…


6:52 pm

Cooking myself a scrumptious dinner…

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9:48 pm

And winding down for bed with a good book and a tea!

Thanks for following along to see what a day in my life looks like. I’m looking forward to seeing what other scientists get up to in their day-to-day work life!

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