It has been a real privilege for me to go to graduate school in London. As time flies, I have now come to my third year in London and my second year of PhD. Maximising my time here has been important: PhD students do not read journal papers or do experiments 24/7 (some do but I cannot). We also love to explore this exciting city, get relaxed and inspired (or an excuse to procrastinate?).
Last weekend, I visited the “Science and Art of Medicine” gallery at the Science Museum, which is jam-packed with fascinating objects. Works that intrigued me most were: some beautiful pink wax carvings of wombs in 19th century Italy, a letter from President George Washington to thank his dentist for his denture, and of course you know I am going to tell you: I saw phossy jaw there – not a jawbone specimen but a copy of an advertisement for safety matches. These matches, introduced by the Salvation Army in the UK in 1891, contained no phosphorus and therefore did not cause phossy jaw (see “Pioneers in the match industry”). I like the advertisement’s strong statements and they are rather encouraging for a second year doctoral student who invariably gets a little bit uneasy with her project. It is quite a challenge for someone who is a clinician by background to study genetics, as my project is on the genetics of a modern phossy jaw disease known as bisphosphonate-associated osteonecrosis of the jaw (BONJ). However, when I saw “No Phossy Jaw…… the way out of darkest England…… save the workers from Phossy Jaw…… ”, I really hope my research will work out well and that there will be “No BONJ” one day!
Looking out for phossy jaw in London has been but one of my enjoyable activities. Lucky enough to be in the first city in history to have hosted three Olympic Games, I was fortunate still to have won a place to perform at the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games, so probably you have watched me drumming at the “Industrial Revolution” and marshaling when the athletes entered the Stadium! I apologise for not having written in the past few months; I started my rehearsals in May and was supposed to keep everything secret~