Fellowship experience - Bhumika Madan

Fellowship report by Bhumika Madan

This was the first time I stepped out of my country alone and independently. I was a bit nervous but in the end, it was one of the most wonderful and memorable experience of my life. I stayed in the UK for 2 months. I reached Aberdeen in the afternoon of a cold, windy day on 29th June 2018. Since Prof. Adam and Dr. Tony were out-of-town, Dr. Roshi Shreshta and Dr. Dali Nayak welcomed me. They were very helpful and made me comfortable to stay at my accommodation. Dr. Roshi also showed me the Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Cruickshank building and Dr. Adam’s lab as well as the post-doc office room (my workplace). Since the weekend was coming, she also showed me the nearest grocery store. I stayed in a big house with a beautiful garden. I used to cook my food.

University accomodotaion (top), and the entrance of the Crickshank building, my work place (bottom). 

On Monday, 2nd July 2018, I went to the office and I met Prof. Adam Price & Dr. Tony Travis. We all went for a discussion over a cup of coffee. Firstly, we introduced ourselves and then, we talked about my work. Dr. Tony Travis helped me to get access to the University of Aberdeen Wi-Fi services and Wildcat, a Bio-Linux server of University of Aberdeen for performing GWAS (Genome-wide association studies). In the first week, I was being introduced to the basics of Bio-Linux. After learning Bio-Linux, I used it to perform GWAS. I also practiced GWAS with different data sets of the University of Aberdeen. Dr. Tony was a very good mentor, he taught me very well in a step-by-step way. He used to listen and clear my doubts very patiently. Along with the implementation of Linux commands on the system, I was also provided the tutorial. For GWAS training I was also being joined by David Rosales Perez, an undergraduate student from the University of Manchester. We regularly discussed the progress of our work and plan for the upcoming weeks with Dr. Adam in his office. I also attended the lab-induction with Kirsten. His lab is a hub of multicultural people. I loved meeting them all. They were very friendly and supportive. We shared our research experiences. I used to go with Dr. Roshi for lunch to the Infohub, to the tea-room in the Cruickshank building, for shopping to the city center and for visiting in and around the city. I also visited her place and met her family. I shared a great bond with her. Dr. Adam also arranged a greenhouse visit for us. I also worked with Dr. Roshi and Dr. Clare in performing some greenhouse experiments which was a great experience for me.

Top: the tea room in the Cruickshank Building, the place where I used to have my lunch.
Bottom: In the Duthie Park with Dr. Roshi and her daughter, Miya.

On the weekends, I used to go out and explore Aberdeen, Harbor city of Scotland on my own and sometimes with my house-mate, Arrie. I visited so many places such as the Cruickshank Botanic Garden, the Zoology Museum, the Maritime Museum, the St. Machar’s Cathedral, the Seaton Park, the Duthie Park, the Tolbooth Museum, the Aberdeen beach, the City Centre etc. It is a beautiful, peaceful city with lots of greenery and friendly people. I loved the weather which is in a strong contrast to that of India at that time.

Aberdeen beach (top left); harbour view from the Aberdeen Maritime Museum (top right);
Cruickshank Botanic Garden (bottom left); in the Seaton Park with my friend, Arrie (bottom right).

I also planned a trip to Edinburgh, the hilly capital of Scotland. I was completely mesmerized with its beauty. I took a train journey from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. The views from it were splendid and breathtaking. I took a bus tour to visit all the main places. I also took the Forth boat tour which covers the main bridges of Edinburgh. I enjoyed this tour the most.

All the three Edinburgh bridges in one photo (top left); Edinburgh castle (view from the tourist bus, top right);
On the Fourth boat tour of Edinburgh (bottom left);
one of the Edinburgh bridges in the sunset (captured from the train, bottom right).

I also planned a trip to visit London and Oxford with one of my friends, who lives in Oxford. I loved the open bus-tour which we took to visit all the main attractions of this famous city. The views of the famous London Bridge, the Tower Bridge, and the London Eye from the cruise at Thames River were mesmerizing. I also got a chance to visit Oxford, a city famous for its museums. I did lots of shopping as well. All in all, I enjoyed the trip.

Alongside the River Thames with the Tower Bridge in the background with my friend, Anusuya (top let);
with an iconic telephone booth in London (top right);
spectacular view of the London Eye (bottom left);
in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (bottom right).

I have learned something from everyone including Dr. Roshi, Dr. Dali, Dr. Hu, Dr. Clare, Mohammad, Chen, Panthita, David, Kirsten, Dr. Partha, Dr. Tony and Dr. Adam. I made new friends including Arrie (my house-mate) and Roshi ma’am. These people were supportive throughout and they made my stay comfortable. I would like to thank all of them. Also, I would like to thank Prof. Mark Sutton (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), Prof. Dave Reay and Dr. Andrea Moring (University of Edinburgh), Dr. Adam Price (my UK mentor), University of Aberdeen (for providing me all the resources) and Dr. Nandula Raghuram (my supervisor), for providing me this lifetime opportunity.

Academically, this training was very useful for my research as I will implement all the knowledge gained from this training along with the expertise of my lab group to improve nitrogen use efficiency in rice. The training also helped me to improve my interpersonal skills. I would love to go there again in the future. Timing was a little challenging (this was a time of holidays at University of Aberdeen and Dr. Tony was available for only a limited period of time) but still, I was able to manage it. From buying grocery, cooking food, staying independently in a big home, and exploring a different country alone gave me a complete sense of independence. I will cherish it forever.

Bhumika Madan

Go to top