Featured Day in the Life of; Lidya, PhD Candidate in Chemical Biology and Blogger.

Hello! My name is Lidya Salim, and I am a PhD Candidate at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, ON, Canada. I work in a Chemical Biology lab and especialize in Nucleic Acid Chemistry. I am currently exploring the synthesis of short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) bearing novel chemical modifications to improve their pharmacological properties.

STEMthusiast by Lidya S

I recently launched my STEMthusiast blog (www.STEMthusiast.net), where I combine my love for STEM fields and education. Check out my study guides and downloadable resources (e.g. planners, graphic organizers and PowerPoint templates) + connect with me on Instagram and Twitter (@STEMthusiast).

Day In The Life:


08:29 AM – Arrived on campus and headed straight to my lab to prep for the day.


08:45 AM – I had set up a chemical reaction the night before, so I placed the flask on a rotary evaporator to remove the solvent. While it dried, I also started thawing some bio reagents I needed and setting up equipment the purify the compound I synthesized.


10:18 AM – After lab prep, I spent some time answering emails and preparing for a meeting I had that morning. I grabbed a coffee on my way to the meeting (but forgot my reusable cup, unfortunately!). After the meeting, when this picture was taken, I was heading back to the lab.


11:13 AM – When I returned to lab, I purified the compound I synthesized and cleaned up all the glassware I used.


12:01 PM – At noon, I headed to my office to eat my lunch: a delicious butternut squash soup. I also prepared and shared an Instagram post on the importance of time management.


12:43 PM – As a PhD student, I have to attend a seminar course where graduate students present their research. I grabbed another coffee right before the class; this time I brought my reusable cup though!


02:46 PM – After class, I headed back to lab and prepared an NMR sample of the compound I had purified earlier. Then I headed to the NMR room to run the sample. NMR (which stands for nuclear magnetic resonance) allows us to characterize chemical compounds.


02:56 PM – I left the NMR running and headed back to lab to prep for a biological assay. I had to plate some cells, so they could be transfected with short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) the next day.


04:42 PM – I coordinate and help facilitate a program called the Science Café – where undergraduate and graduate students can drop by for study space, resources and academic support (+ free coffee!). I got a bit busy setting up and helping students but managed to snap this pic of some of the resources we have available.


06:29 PM – I had some downtime at the Science Café, so I prepared some social media content for the Science Café accounts and did some planning for the rest of the week.


07:33 PM – The Science Café ended, and I headed back to lab to wrap up for the day.


07:49 PM – I spent a few minutes updating my laboratory notebook and making sure I had everything I needed for the 8 AM lab I had to teach the next morning. I ended up heading home just after 8 PM.


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