What I’ve been reading in 2018 (January to June)

Something slightly different – a round up of my reviews for books I’ve read in the first half of this year, highlighting my top recommendations and one my favourite genres – books with young, supposedly “unlikeable” female protagonists in messy relationships!

(For those of you who already religiously follow my goodreads reviews, this post will be pretty redundant! For those who would like to religiously follow me on good reviews, find me here! I’ll also do another round up at the end of 2018, for the second half of the year.)

My Top Recommendations

her body and other partieswhen i hit youeat uppublicly shamedlullaby

(more…)

A Friendly Overview of “Biological Predictors of Clozapine Response: A Systematic Review” – Part 2

This is the second blog providing a “friendly overview” of a systematic review I co-authored on biological predictors of clozapine response, which has recently been published in Frontiers Psychiatry. In the first, I explained why predicting response to clozapine is important and gave a brief explainer of what systematic reviews are. In this one, I’ll explain how we conducted our review, and the key messages from our findings.

Obviously you can find all of the detail in the paper itself, but this is primarily aimed at non-scientists or people outside of the field. If anyone is interested in more detail of a particular aspect, I’ll happily write a follow up on certain aspects or answer questions in the comments/on Twitter!

(more…)

A Friendly Overview of “Biological Predictors of Clozapine Response: A Systematic Review” – Part 1

After (too many…) years, a systematic review I co-authored on biological predictors of clozapine response has recently been published in Frontiers Psychiatry, so I’m going to do two posts giving a “friendly overview” of the paper. In this one, I’ll outline why predicting response to clozapine is important and give a brief explainer of what systematic reviews are. In the second, I’ll explain how we conducted our review, and the key messages from our findings.

Obviously you can find all of the detail in the paper itself, but this is primarily aimed at non-scientists or people outside of the field. If anyone is interested in more detail about a particular aspect, I’ll happily write a follow up on certain aspects or answer questions in the comments/on Twitter!

(more…)

Writing a PhD thesis – “words of wisdom”

For those of you doing PhDs, whether your thesis submission is a few years away or a few months away, I thought I’d pass on some “wisdom” about the whole process (most of which is just how to avoid my mistakes…!) – from planning to mindset to little technical things. I read a lot of advice which sounded great but seemed very idealistic and sometimes just scared me – I’m hoping this is a bit more grounded and reassuring. Some of these tips may be broadly useful to other projects or pieces of academic work or writing, but it is quite focused on writing a PhD thesis, which I found a very different process to any previous academic writing  – partly just due to the length!

(more…)

Slow cooker BBQ brisket recipe

Firstly I’ll say that compared to my last recipe, this is a lot more relaxed. It’s my favourite kind of chuck-it-in-a-pot dish with lots that you can personalise; you can improvise and use whatever looks good in your cupboard, and nothing is too essential that if you realise you’ve run out it’s a disaster (well, other than the brisket). So if the technique of my cherry pie seemed a bit intense, don’t worry, most of my recipes will be more like this…

(more…)

Genetics, epigenetics and DNA methylation – an intro (Part 1)

I’ve wanted to write an intro to “epigenetics” for a while, because when I was trying to learn about it for the first time, I found most things fell into two camps: either mainstream press with lots of hype but not much detail or jargon-filled explanations aimed at hardcore biologists with lots of prior genetics knowledge. As someone who started my PhD with little understanding of genetics, it took me quite a while to piece together information with enough detail to properly understand all the terms but not so much detail that my brain felt like melting. I wished there had been one resource which talked me through at least the basic ideas from start to finish, without assuming a tonne of knowledge beforehand – and so that’s the aim of this series of posts! For people new to genetics, this will be a crash course in all the key things to know. I will use some of the jargon so that you can learn the words, but try not to get bogged down in it – you don’t need to remember it all and I will try to explain everything as I go. Leave me a comment if I need to explain something further! For people familiar with genetics, this will probably cover a lot of old ground and you might want to just skim it then read the extra resources at the end!

So… let’s start with the hype!

(more…)

Cherry pie recipe – based on Serious Eats

So, my fiance had been hinting about cherry pie for… years but pastry is something I have no real experience with and it’s always scared me a bit. But over Valentine’s week I wanted to do something special, so I hunted down these recipes on Serious Eats, adapted them slightly and I was really happy with the results (if we forget about the fact the crust slightly burnt…). This may well be the most elaborate recipe I post because it’s pastry BUT (for pastry) it’s pretty relaxed which I like – expect the rest of my recipes to be more low key.

(more…)