A day in the life (2016)

Today is Friday, 20 May 2016

I am an Edinburgh-Zhejiang lecturer at the University of Edinburgh (UK).

This is a day in my life.

  • 7:30 am – When I manage to get up in time, I start the day with a bit of Chinese revision. I have started learning Chinese about a year ago for my job, which requires me to teach in China for part of the year. And like all languages, it’s difficult and requires a lot of practice. Now, as a neuroscientist, I know that spaced repetition is the most effective for learning (more effective than massed practice), and that therefore, it is best to study a little bit every day. As a human being, of course, I am not always as good at keeping up with the discipline. Today is a good day though … I am using the awesome Anki app, by the way. It has revolutionised my language learning, no question. Anki
  • 8:00 am – I have breakfast and get ready for work.
  • 9:00 am – Going to work is very literally a walk in the park for me. and what a beautiful one!


  • 9:30 am – I plan my work for the day and check my e-mail. Most of the morning is taken up by reading to prepare for an upcoming meeting, and by working on a manuscript on the biochemistry on cooperative binding (one of my favourite topics – in fact, I have written most of the Wikipedia page on it, together with my PhD adviser Nicolas Le Novère)
  • 11:00 am – I meet with one of the postdocs from our school. We are currently advertising for more Edinburgh-Zhejiang lecturers, i.e. people like me who have a research base at the University of Edinburgh, but a teaching commitment within the international Biomedical Sciences degree at Zhejiang University in China. My friend is considering applying and wants to know more about what the job is like, so we have a lovely chat over a nice cup of tea.


  • 12 pm – Back to the office for a bit more writing.
  • 1 pm – It’s our weekly institute seminar. Dr. Francesca Klinger from the University of Rome Tor Vergata is talking about the primordial follicle reserve in the ovary.
  • 2 pm – Some admin stuff, replying to e-mails, and discussing a few questions about our ongoing research with my MSc student.


  • 3:30 pm – My colleague Iris Oren is spearheading an initiative to int roduce more teaching of statistics into the biomedical sciences undergraduate degree programme. This is obviously an issue very close to my heart, and today, Iris and I are meeting to touch base and discuss possible plans for Biomedical Sciences 2.
  • 5 pm – I have a skype meeting with Rachel Miller-Howard for her new Aftermath podcast (aftermathpodcast_at_gmail.com). Rachel is interested in diverse stories about failures and what they mean for peoples’ lives, and wanted to hear from me about my idea of compiling a CV of failures. Talking to her is delightful and thought-provoking, and I am looking forward to hearing more about her podcast.
  • 6 pm – A few more e-mails to write, but I am almost ready to wrap up my working day and go home early.


  • 7 pm – Back home, I relax and don’t actually do much. Except, I make Lasagne, because there is a holiday to celebrate.
  • 9 pm – My boyfriend has landed. Since I live in Edinburgh and he lives in London, we usually see each other on weekends, alternating between the two places.
  • 10 pm – We have Lasagne and wine and enjoy the beginning weekend.



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