Jonas Möcking is a PhD student participating in the Bo&MeRanG project, a joint programme of the Universities Bonn and Melbourne. After two years of research in Prof Matthias Geyer’s Lab in Bonn working on the molecular basis of the inflammasome complex, he continues his studies in Melbourne with Prof Seth Masters. We accompany Jonas on his journey, which began on Wednesday, 28th February, and his impressions will be posted in real time on the blog. Especially at the beginning of his endeavours, we are aiming at short daily updates. We wish you an exciting and successful time Down Under, Jonas – good onya, mate!
Jonas’ reports on his very first days in Melbourne you can find here!
While my project was focused on structural biology and protein biochemistry in Bonn, I am now more looking at the functional basis of inflammasome activation. It is my second week at WEHI. And I did my first experiment in the lab. And it actually worked. Yay! Apart from lab work, more safety inductions and online trainings keep me busy during the week. For Wednesday night, Alan organized a dinner at Ormond College. The idea is that some students living at the college get the opportunity to talk to PhD students and Postdocs and can ask questions about careers in science. The food is delicious and the atmosphere is very relaxed. And afterwards we went to the Naughtons Parkville for another beer. Or maybe two…
On Friday I joined the casual soccer game that some scientists from WEHI play regularly on the green right in front of the institute. It is fun to play and also a good way to meet more people. After taking a quick shower at home I go to a pub in Brunswick with a few colleagues. And apparently, there is a “Space Disco” themed house party to which we are going. Again, there are a lot of new people to meet and to talk to (so many names to remember). The music is good, the drinks are cold and there is loads of glitter.
To cure the hangover, I join some of the Bo&MeRanG students at Port Melbourne Beach on Saturday afternoon. The cold sea is refreshing. We play some Frisbee in the water and enjoy the sun. I can highly recommend having a beach close to where you live! Later on, we head to the city again to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in an Irish Pub. And then the second week is already over.
While my first two weeks were mainly focused on exploring Melbourne and WEHI, the following three weeks were more about familiarizing myself with the lab, where things are and how certain things work (To be honest, I am still asking around quite a lot. But I believe it is getting better each day and I am confident that I will be able to work completely independent before I come back to Germany again). I also spent some time to prepare a talk, which I gave in front of the Inflammation Division (Info for non-WEHI people: WEHI is organized as different divisions. One division is comprised of multiple labs, which generally have the same research interests and share the lab and office space). Apart from presenting the results from my time in Bonn I also talked about my plans at WEHI. The feedback was very good and now people within the Division know who I am and what I do.
So, my daily routine is pretty much like that of other PhD students. Just that I travelled to the other end of the world to continue my PhD. And that definitely has some advantages. For example, you can fly to Sydney for Easter and it only takes you an hour on the plane to get there (as opposed to 24 h when you fly from Frankfurt). But actually, I went there to visit a friend over the Easter weekend. The weather was really nice and we visited some of my favorite places in Sydney, like the harbour with the iconic Harbour Bridge and the Opera House as well as Gordon’s Bay, where we went for a swim (see pictures). I had a great time in Sydney. Being able to explore another country while doing a PhD is definitely one of the perks of going overseas for your PhD – if you have enough free time of course.
(featured image from colourbox.com; all other pictures are by J. Möcking)