Impressions of my Research Stay aT ANU

Julie-Anne Gabelich (ANU)

Published December 15, 2018


After the end of the two-week itinerary consisting of the ASP conference and Kioloa retreat, individuals associated with the IRTG broke off into groups to return to Germany with the exception of me and Francois. We remained behind to begin our research stays in the labs of Alex Maier and Melanie Rug.


As with any abrupt change in living situation, there was of course an adjustment period. It has now been over two months, and initial frustrations aside, the benefits of such an opportunity are appearing. What might be lacking in post-doc personnel is well compensated by a verifiable book of standardized protocols and twice weekly meetings with PIs – one in a group setting and the other individual. On top of this, everyone I have encountered has been outstanding in patience and hospitality. Furthermore, now that the abstract planning of my ANU stay is a reality, it brings into focus project objectives that previously were akin to a set of bullet points on a slide show presentation. Seeing the facilities first hand accompanied with the hard shift in project emphasis has solidified timelines, objectives, and feasibility. Additionally, I am building flexibility in planning and work attitude, since now I must plan times for video conferencing with my Berlin counterparts, and I am now sharing equipment with a heavier work load than to which I am accustomed. My work is now more interactive as I find myself frequently engaging with colleagues to achieve more complicated procedures.


I’ll admit, it was initially quite a struggle to adapt to a less extensive transport system and cafés that close before I even think of getting off work. However, the serenity of a more natural living is something a big city like Berlin struggles to offer. Even now, as I write from my backyard patio at 21°C at 19:00 in December, the hum of cicadas of calls of the innumerous bird varieties keep me company. Meanwhile, the sunset casts such dramatic shades of pink that I can’t help but wonder if it is trying to convince me of something. So maybe it isn’t my place to make comparisons, but rather appreciate each city and institute for their unique offerings to meet my fullest potential in this program. The two are simple incomparable, but indeed I find them to be fully compatible.