Adjusting after lockdown – Piers Wilkinson

Written by Piers Wilkinson

As it probably goes without saying, the past several months has been a difficult period. Due to the pandemic the lab where I was based at St James Hospital closed in mid-march for what was assumed to be only a few months. However, during the initial period of closure it was found that there were several serious fire safety issues with the building, requiring the closure to be extended for at least a year and likely somewhat longer than that. As my PhD project is entirely lab based this has been incredibly disruptive, and at the point of writing this piece I’ve been unable to do any lab work for more than 7 months, effectively stopping progress on my PhD over that time. Over the extended closure I have been able to continue work on my systematic review that I initially began as a piece of CDT coursework. After a total rewrite and the addition of material from several international collaborators, it is now hopefully very close to publication in the journal “Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology”. Additionally, I spent a considerable amount of time writing my transfer report and preparing for the transfer viva, which I successfully passed in late august.

Fortunately, being part of the CDT has provided a lifeline in regards to the lab closure. Dr Hazel Fermor has kindly allowed myself and several other CDT students previously based at St James to join her lab in the faculty of biological sciences on the University of Leeds main campus. We’re now just about finished the moving process and hope to be able to begin work in some form next week. Hopefully I’ll have much more science to talk about in my next blog post!