Wednesday, 24 August 2011

1st Anniversary of The Toxicologist Today!

Today is the 1st Anniversary of my science blog, The Toxicologist Today, a blog dedicated 99.9% to Toxicology and 0.1% to Endocrinology (along with Biomedical Research comprising my real scientific passions). 

When I started this blog back in August 2010 I had returned from Portugal (from visiting my family) after 6 months in Germany where I had been working in a research project concerning Arabinogalactans and the immune system. I got back to the United Kingdom to also encounter a country facing that global recession that had deeply affected the job market, where scientific research had been aimed with cuts and restrictions that even now is displacing numerous researchers to a limbic moment of their lives. Young researchers as I am, young in age and in experience (~3 years of full-time laboratory research experience) were suddenly looking for something to do in other areas that were not related to the matters studied and developed through the years spent in the Universities and Research centres. But life showed us the way, at least I found my way through those, shall I exaggerate it and call it, "dark times"... I became a Portuguese/Spanish translator for NHS, I started writing science articles/essays/dissertations for other people, and eventually when the feeling that science was over for me stroke me strongly deep in my self-conscience I promised myself not to give up and started my own blog. I did it specifically to tell the world of my value as a researcher, but most of all to express my passion for science whilst keeping in touch with the latest news concerning Toxicology, Endocrinology and Biomedical research. In the start of 2011 I needed to go back to the lab, for the sake of maintaining an updated researcher profile, get in touch with the techniques, meeting people who could help me advance in my career and gain more experience. I approached a researcher from the Frozen Ark Project, Dr. Angus Davison from the University of Nottingham (School of Biology) who kindly offered me the opportunity to participate in one of his projects, after numerous DNA extractions and 5 months of a very friendly atmosphere I was ready to move on to yet another volunteering project, this time with my Masters by Research former supervisor, Dr. David de Pomerai (a Guru of Caenorhabditis elegans). With David I felt like getting back home, to my comfort zone, pleased to be invited to participate in his project concerning microwave radiation and protein aggregation (still going on) and even have a go on teaching other people!!!! In the meanwhile, I started a Regulatory Affairs course conducted by the Pharmaceutical Training International and only in late June 2011, nearly 12 months after I finished my contract in Borstel (Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg) was I able to breath properly after I was offered a wonderful position (a project I will soon talk about and develop here in the blog).

12 months have passed and I grew immensely as a person. 2010 was the toughest year I had since arriving to England (October 2006), I never gave up, but I must share with my audience moments of tears and disappointment that made my days throughout 2010 and half of 2011. On those difficult days I had the support of my family and friends, a very important presence in my life. But I have to say that my blog gave me a really good perspective of the professional I am and I can evolve to be in the future. I started writing for the people at home who knew nothing or just a little of Toxicology, but feel enticed by it, and now I think more experienced and science-wise people visit this blog on a daily basis. I started with The Turkey Triptophan Myth to breakdown urban believes that had no scientific reasoning sustaining them, and from there onwards I wrote and wrote and investigated, always constrained by the short time I have available for it, always trying to deliver interesting subjects, helpful ideas, honest knowledge, humble approaches and even some Toxic Humour.

Today is the 1st anniversary of my science blog, science... my passion... I am not the kid I was when I came to this country, I am not that ingenuous researcher-wannabe any more. But I still have in me what I will always share with people regardless of my professional position or my social status, i.e., an utterly passion for everything I do and an open heart to learn and share it with you, and you, and you and you, and you too.

Thank you so very much for 12 amazing months in the life of my/your blog.

Peace, Love and Empathy,

Ivan Lafayette

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