Get to know.. your WRDTP student reps – Katie Gelder

Meet Katie! A ‘blob’ scientist and one of your DTP reps based at Sheffield, find out more about her below!

Describe your research in one tweet?

I study the formation of blobs, aka phase separation, which contain high concentrations of RNA and proteins, such as CREB binding protein. I’m investigating whether CBP can form blobs at enhancer regions, and if this affects its activity and therefore transcriptional activation. (279)

What is the toughest challenge you’ve had to overcome in science so far?

I think the toughest challenge for me was learning to handle the constant failure that occurs doing novel research during my PhD. I don’t think you’re ever quite prepared for how much is going to go wrong during your PhD – and that this is the norm for PhD students. I definitely think this gets easier with practice and experience, and it’s comforting to know that other people feel the same way and it’s not just you.

What do you do when you’re not studying?

When I’m not studying I like to do lots of things outside the lab. As most PhD students I like to go to the pub with friends or the lab, to celebrate successes or maybe even just because it’s a Friday. During lockdown I also began learning how to sew, a hobby that I am going to continue with –  making clothes, scrunchies, etc. Who knew it could be so satisfying to put work into a project and always get results?

Why do you use twitter to communicate science?

I like to use Twitter to communicate science because it’s quick and effective. It allows you to hear and share science with different groups from all over the world who share similar scientific interests. As it is a social media platform I find it extremely user-friendly and something that I can do outside of work, scrolling through the latest highlights in science.

We all mess up sometimes… What’s your biggest lab mistake?

I’m not sure I have made a big mistake in the lab yet – but as is the nature of the job I have made several *minor* mistakes. My first mistake in the lab involved making an agarose gel out of water instead of TAE which proceeded to melt as I ran the gel. A more recent mistake belongs on the EDTA board of shame – taking three attempts to make a 0.5 M solution as I forgot that without changing the pH it will never dissolve – word to the wise!