I passed through the GRE as a PhD student in Tom Owen-Hughes’ lab and stayed on an extra year as a postdoc. I was quite lucky in that I got accepted onto the Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD scheme where I spent my first year rotating around three different divisions before deciding on a lab to do my PhD.

 

I remember even when I was on rotation projects in other divisions Tom would invite me out to dinner and to the pub along with the rest of his lab. I thought it was a blatant attempt to sway my decision to return to his lab (which ┬áit probably was!), but soon realised that this was the normal state of affairs regarding the GRE social life! In retrospect I think joining the GRE was one of the most important decisions that has shaped my career. In research you have to be a little fearless (reckless?!) in trying out new approaches to solve difficult problems, and I think in the GRE people were never afraid to try something new – in fact I think Tom actively encouraged it! And that is probably the most important lesson that I learnt from my time in the GRE: don’t be afraid to try something new.

 

I still keep in contact with many of my peers from the GRE, and I suppose, as such, it has provided a global network of colleagues for me. Just a few months ago I received some plasmids from an ex lab-mate who is now working down under, and since starting my position in Warwick I have struck up a collaboration with Aga Gambus, another ex-GREer (Blow lab), who has gone on to start her own research group just down the road in Birmingham!