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Wilkommen to my blog - my name is Karin Purshouse, and I'm a doctor in the UK. If you're looking for ramblings on life as a junior doctor, my attempts to dual-moonlight as a scientist and balancing all that madness with a life, you've come to the right place. I'm currently a doctor/research trainee in oncology after spending a year doing research in the USA. All original content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Sweater Weather

New roomie, and key MSc assistant.
This has been a very exciting few days (although summer disappeared this week - I write this wearing a JUMPER (sorry, Americans - a SWEATER!)!  I hope the warmth is being enjoyed somewhere else instead):

- I have a home
- I submitted my MSc dissertation 
- I (think I) have Made Cancer (pending repeats, further validation....etc)
- I have applied to my very first non-clinical conference with an abstract as a first author (obviously no idea if it'll be accepted, but still, a milestone of sorts)
- As well as the other obvious things to be thankful for - friends, family, food in my belly etc.

And genuinely (and those who know me back in the UK will think I'm lying but I PROMISE this is true) - it was all very enjoyable - nay, chilled! Maybe I'm destined for a career in science after all... or maybe living in a perpetual state of craziness has just become far too normal for me.

A visiting friend (who by chance works in cancer-themed healthcare herself) quite rightly asked me - 'so why does this matter to me and the kids I look after?'

Gary and the most American thing we could
find to celebrate!
This question had me hopping with excitement, as has this whole week.  It was basically the accumulation of my entire year's work in the USA, and science, as you've probably gathered, is a tricky little bugger.  I've had entire weeks go by where literally NOTHING has worked.  And the odds of Making Cancer were heavily stacked against me, as it turns out messing around with DNA is pretty tricky.  My sanity with clone screening has definitely been challenged! But a combination of blind optimism and early acceptance of possible failure (which I will not call pessimism, merely realism) have served me well, although of course it is easy to forgive and forget when the good times return.  Hopefully, assuming repeat experiments go ok, I have Made Cancer - aka Gary (it got too confusing to call him 'Plate A1, Well G5 etc etc'.)  Gary the clone has survived from one cell up, which in itself is pretty amazing.

So to go back to the whole Who Cares question?  Well, this is basically what Translational Science is all about.  We have Made Cancer with genetic characteristics that are currently poorly understood.  Gary will help us learn more about the impact of these genetic changes.  And we can also do some pretty nifty drug screening stuff to find new drugs from which patients will benefit.  Great work from a single cell called Gary.

Y-town doing its whole 'beautiful sunsets' thing
This matters because I have looked after patients with this sort of cancer and it sucks.

Hence - Translational Science can convert laboratory discoveries into something from which patients might benefit.

And I think that's pretty cool.

By Dr K R Purshouse MBBS (Hons), BSc (Hons) aged 26 and 23/24ths.

Now, I am off to do some more exploring in between finishing my Science.  Lake leaping and beer tasting, anyone? 

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