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Cakeman 3 star member
Tuesday, 20 May 2008 at 1:05pm
Friday, 21 March 2014 at 11:54am
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page 1 of 13 recent posts

Thread: Passing the PhD or getting articles published- which is harder?

posted
21-Mar-14, 12:37
edited about 9 seconds later
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 3 years ago
Mostly agree with the previous poster, although to this I would add it all depends upon the circumstances.

For example some journals will accept almost any old toot, some really won't. For example loads of people have passed PhDs but haven't got articles in for example; nature or science (and believe me, lots of people with PhDs have tried to publish with those journals). In reality if you get to viva stage at a uk institution you have a very good chance of passing, in some other countries you have a 100% chance of passing at viva stage (it is literally a formality), and in Australia you often don't even have a viva.

Like many things in Academia, much of it is really not very transparent. One thing I will say is if you have a good paper published come viva day, it's very difficult for them to fail you.

In all i'd say they are very similar, but slightly different challenges, that should be treated as a marathon, not a sprint. If you can do one, you should be able to do the other.

Thread: question about interview follow up

posted
21-Mar-14, 12:07
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 3 years ago
Dear all

I'm a PhD graduate, been a postdoc in pharmacology for about 3 and 3/4 years in total. My most recent contract was a 1 year overseas research fellowship which has now expired, hence in January, I returned to my home country the UK. So before the end of my previous contract, and since January i've been applying for jobs in the UK, I've applied for about 50, mostly non academic, but pharmacology related positions such associate editor of a journal or scientific/ medical writer.

So far i've had 1 skype interview, 2 traditional interviews, one phone interview. I got rejected from the skype interview (no problem there, If they'd offered, it would have been a difficult decision as to whether I accept or not as I didn't like the people much). The first traditional interview went well, everyone was lovely but got rejected 2 weeks later (a shame, but fair enough). The phone interview went well enough, but i've recieved no word after 3 weeks. The second traditional interview resulted from the first company mentioning me to another company, got an interview, and it did not go very well, and i've not heard, although I have just seen the position advertised, so I guess they didn't like me.

So after all the background, my question is as follows: Is this normal? I know the jobs market is pretty tight right now, and many people with better CVs than my own are struggling for work, but 50 jobs and only 4 interviews to show for it?, and 2 of the interviews were with not particularly nice people, and why the lack of feedback in 2 cases, is this all normal?

Thanks for reading, all responses welcome.

Thread: article request

posted
12-Apr-12, 12:01
edited about 23 seconds later
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 5 years ago
Hi, Can anybody help me out with this article

Nat Rev Urol. 2012 Mar 13. doi: 10.1038/nrurol.2012.33

The role of prostanoids in urinary bladder physiology.
Rahnama'i MS, van Kerrebroeck PE, de Wachter SG, van Koeveringe GA.

Many thanks

Thread: My viva, I passed!

posted
12-Jan-12, 18:49
edited about 7 seconds later
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 5 years ago
Many congratulations Ady, on a job well done. I hope you have a great evening, and maybe you can tell us about it (the viva that is) in a few days.

Thread: Article request

posted
04-Jan-12, 18:18
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 5 years ago
Hi Folks,

Happy new year to all

does anyone have access to:

KCNQ Currents and their contribution to resting membrane potential and the excitability of interstitial cells of cajald from the guinea pig bladder.
Anderson UA, Carson C, McCloskey KD. Journal of Urology. 2009 Jul,182(1):330-6.doi:10.1016/j.juro.2009.02.108 If you have access to this, let me know, and I shall pm an email adress to send it to.Many thanks, Cakeman

Thread: article request

posted
17-Nov-11, 16:48
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
======= Date Modified 17 Nov 2011 16:49:15 =======
Hi people, can anyone sort me out for this exciting article!

Role of K+ Channels in Regulating Spontaneous Activity in Detrusor Smooth Muscle In Situ in the Mouse Bladder.The Journal of Urology. Volume 181, issue 5, May 2009, Pages 2355-2365.doi:10.1016/j.juro.2009.01.013

Many thanks, Cakeman

Thread: which type are you?

posted
15-Nov-11, 14:16
edited about 19 seconds later
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
probably a 6/7 with elements of 3 also

Thread: New partner of a PhD student

posted
07-Nov-11, 17:25
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Gosh, I wish my partner was something like as supportive as this.

So she has the viva soon? There is a good chance your partner will be awarded a pass with minor corrections, this happens in about 95% of the cases i've known. The actual nature of the minor corrections will tend to vary from a few typoes to something like a month of full-time work.

Seeing as the PhD is now actually submitted, there should'nt be too many extra demands on your time as the job's done, all she needs to do now is prepare for the viva. I actually found that I required very little preparation for this, although I tried to do lots and got very nervous, the only productive things I did were: read a few journal articles beforhand, and re-read my thesis a few times, and it worked fine for me. I suspect the biggest problem you may have is managing nervousness etc, as this can be quite a stressful time.

Any idea what happens after this?, a big problem with academic careers is moving around, although if she has family this would seem less likely. In my field academic researchers (Post-docs) tend to be on 2-3 year contracts for about a decade untill they either land a lectureship, or find something else to do.

You say she already has a job? Is she likely to continue with this post PhD? If not, things could get complicated, if she is, then this should all be fine.

Best wishes, Cakeman

Thread: When to apply

posted
07-Nov-11, 13:49
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Hi PeterS,

Thought I ought to help you, I have the same name and first initial. Regarding PhD applications in the UK, it is typical to apply about 6 months before the suggested project start date, or sometimes even more, if you happen to be completing your degree at the time you would put the degree title on your CV/application, put a completion date eg 07/2012 and your expected grade. The place you are applying to can talk to your referees and find out how likely it is you will achieve this grade. As far as i'm aware this is common practice in this country, it's certainly how I did it. It's probably wise to remember that honesty is the best policy as you don't want to get accepted somewhere then not achieve the required grades.

One other thing, is that in the UK we have a 1st (typically 70%+) 2:1(typically 60-70%), 2:2 (50-60%) and 3rd (40-50%) system of dividing grades. Generally a 1st will get you onto a PhD and a 2:1 is often good enough as well in biomedical science type subjects. I don't know how this translates with regard to the German system. Other subjects eg arts and humanities usually require a good master's degree also.

Also, you say you are looking for an MD qualification?. In the uk this is different to a PhD and is done usually by already clinically qualified junior doctors. I worked with one during my PhD he did part time at the hospital as a clinician and part time MD research work and completed in two years. It would seem that here an MD is a much smaller thing than a PhD, although it is not that rare to find qualified medical doctors who also have PhD's, such as my boss who is a university lecturer.

I hope this information is useful to you

All the best

Thread: mice question...help!!!!!!

posted
07-Nov-11, 10:44
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Hi Ruth

I'm no expert, but seeing as nobody else here is either, my understanding is as follows: If mice are heterozygous knockouts, which is common if the gene is co-dominant or a double knockout would be lethal, you definitely have to do the PCR/southern blot on the ear punch, or whatever other sample you have because you don't know if the progeny are WT, double KO or heterozygotes. Also if the progeny ratios are skewed in one diretion or the other, this may tell you something about function.

If it's a cross between two double KO mice, where the same gene has been KO'd it probably is'nt as necessary, especially if people have published on this strain before. However if the strain is entirely novel then you must confirm that the KO has been passed on through the germ line in roughly the expected ratios. For example, it could be that your KO is embryonically lethal, so a cross between a double KO and a het would give entirely heterozygote offspring, although how you would have generated a double KO if this were the case, i don't know.

Another thing, is this a targetted KO? You can get promotor specific targettting, usually involving Cre/LoxP sequences. If this is the case you have to feed it something that will activate the targeted KO, and I would definitely check the organ of interest for expression if this is the case as you can't be sure how rapidly this KO is likely to be activated.

Regarding characterisation, surely that's the actual experiment you want to do? If you think development is affected or some behavioural characteristic, you may want to monitor the mice for a while prior to using them. I would check the literature and see if others have used this strain before, but if none of this is the case I would check the KO and use as you see fit

Hope this is of some use to you, ATB cakeman

Thread: Are we good value for money?

posted
13-Oct-11, 10:00
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
One thing to remember,

Although it seems like a lot of money if you are a fully funded PhD student, it should be pointed out that to hire a recent graduate with top grades would cost companies a lot more than 12-13K per annum. Also ther are no set hours, and probably at some point you will be putting in many more hours than a 9-5 job, so if you translate your stipend to hourly rate, it's actually quite a good deal for the institution.

For example, supposing you do 250 hours in the average month, that would be about a 45-50 hour working week given a month is normally 4 weeks plus a couple of days, and you have a stipend of £13,200 per year, a months hours divied by a months pay:

1100/250 = £4.40, less than the adult minimum wage. So the cleaning staff at your institution will most likely be out-earning you

Thread: Join me if you have a brain

posted
12-Oct-11, 16:35
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Hmmm, I can see how you would feel this way if you are doing 20 hours of unpaid teaching per week. Is it not possible you can simply say "no" and that you wish to concentrate upon research. Presumably you have all your time to yourself when the student's aren't around, which in my coutry (UK) is about 50% of the time.

And i do agree, to universities PhD students are basically a cheap way to get research done, hence have more PhD students, get more research done. Regarding the old professor, he/she's probably an emeritus, so not actually getting paid to come into work anymore, this is usually what happens, so he/she is probably not drawing a salary.

And yes, lectureships are difficult to get hold of, partly because people don't want to retire early I suppose, but is anything truely worth having easy to get?.

Regarding experience, ok you have not been properly compensated for doing a load of teaching, but surely if there are no set hours or job descriptions, you don't have to do the teaching, right?. Also, I think whether you can gain experience of your particular area of interest outside of a university really depends upon your field. If it's Science or Engineering, then yes, you can gain similar experiences in industry etc, although for arts and humanities, I don't see how this is achievable.

I hope this gives you some things to consider.

Thread: To those who are in science field...

posted
10-Oct-11, 19:45
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
I never intended to do research science at all. I wanted to learn a trade, but my Dad persuaded me to stay on at school.

At school my talents were PE, geography, and the Sciences to an extent. I did these subjects as A levels (Science= Chemistry + biology in my case), and actually got better grades in Geography and PE. When it came to chose a degree I went for science because I thought a Geography degree lacked sufficient structure, and a BSc in hard science would be much more useful than a PE or Geography degree.

Then I did my Pharmacology degree, found it for the most part very easy, and did a PhD because it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. PhD was a lot harder but I go through it. Now a post-doc and although I like my day-to day existence, i don't think there's much future in it for me. I don't think I ever wanted to be a scientist, i'm not really bothered about the whole title or Dr thing, it's just a series of decisions. I get resonably paid for my job, but to quote Phillip Greenspun I have "the hours of a Bolivian Silver miner, and worse job security than being in a boyband".

Apologies for lack of structure here, this is a bit of a random stream of consciousness, but you wanted my thoughts, and I gave them.

Thread: Penalty charge for going over 3 years, common?

posted
10-Oct-11, 18:36
edited about 7 seconds later
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Seems a bit mean, I think it may be more common to charge for going over 4th year. This was the case in my old institution in that you were charged a £500.00 registration fee. However, there was a catch to this, your 4th year was considered "registration only" and you were not allowed to use any campus facilities apart from the library, or join any student clubs or societies (officially). Strangely enough, the bar and campus catering facilities, shops etc did not refuse my custom.

Thread: I quit my PhD and am much happier

posted
07-Oct-11, 11:21
by Cakeman 3 star member
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posted about 6 years ago
Good for you Danni

This sounds enormously like my early PhD time, as it was I could'nt find anything else I wanted to do, so stuck it out. I would'nt say i'm hugely happy, but I like my current job (post-doc), and I still can't think of anything else I would prefer, although the short contracts situation is not ideal.

Regarding these "new route" PhDs where you have a doctoral training centre and masters year, which is done with some taught bits and rotations around various labs, this seems to suit most students better. One thing to bear in mind, is it does mean decisions regarding who gets funded PhD projects allocated to their lab, and who does not is massively at the mercy of internal politics.

We've had a great project declined because the director of the doctoral training centre in question is married to someone with a certain expertise, we chose to collaborate with another person who has similar expertise. We think our project got rejected because we had'nt chosen to work with the director's wife instead on this. I have heard of numerous other people whose applications got rejected due to politics also, so this way is'nt completely ideal either. I suppose previously the project allocations were done by research councils, so could still be some politics there, but probably more transparency.
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