First 4 months PhD(bioscience)

30-Nov-16, 14:25
edited about 28 seconds later
by iwan
Avatar for iwan
posted about 11 months ago
as i am writing this i wonder how much of this is common? I am 4 months into my PhD program in biology area. Although i did learn some new lab techniques, i feel like im making very little progress and it doesnt help that i do not possess much lab experience. for the past 2 months i have been struggling to get my western blot techniques right, getting every possible steps wrong in my tries. but i am learning with each new mistake i make. The worse part is that my cells take 14 days to differentiate under a certain condition and i have used 4 attempts at it with no avail. I could not even start to test out my research questions when my model system isint working to begin with.

frustrating much and it doesnt help that the seniors in my lab are saying things like ''eh this other newcomer got the western blot result straightway, why cant you?''

any advice ;/
30-Nov-16, 21:39
edited about 28 seconds later
Avatar for Teaddict
posted about 11 months ago
This isn't necessarily a problem. I'm a first year PhD student and have been told relatedly to not worry about the first several months as much. From what I gather, PhD students think they can start working a master piece in month two and it just doesn't work like that. I'm currently teaching, doing an MA in teaching, and my PhD. Naturally, I'm a little busy and told that it's normal to not really get started until several months in.
30-Nov-16, 22:36
Avatar for kikothedog
posted about 11 months ago
A phd is training. You aren't expected to master everything. Yet.
The blotting will come with practise, do two a day for a week and you'd have the technique down. As for the cell line, find out who else has used them, ask them for advice, or tips. If they can't help that's what research is about.

If you have your test model ready and working by the 8-12 month mark consider yourself ahead of the curve. Good luck and don't stress too much.
19-Jan-17, 10:00
edited a moment later
Avatar for pixiecup
posted about 9 months ago
Hi Iwan,

I did my Phd in microbiology where I was working with very slow growing fungus. The first year of my phd was 90% on establishing cultures and optimising the relevant experimental methods. You do not have to worry and instead use strategic planning to gain relevant background knowledge and training on the necessary skills. I agree with kikothedog that you can allow your self to a duration of 8-12 months on this.

Also for example look in detail on western blots. there are many troubleshooting forums available on this. Talk with your colleagues, discuss your problems and find out what you can do to solve the issues.

PhD is a long journey similar to a marathon. Do not exhaust your self but be kind to your self and tackle the issues with your experimental system during this first year, Eventually you can gain the momentum. Good luck. Keep us updated.


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