The doors to the Centre for Cancer Immunology have been open for just over a month now, with everyone settling in to their new routines and ways of going about their day, and I can’t help feeling an immense sense of what has been achieved! It’s been an eventful few years in the making, with the campaign to raise £25 million for the Centre. I have been lucky enough to be involved in the fundraising and awareness building for the Centre through lab tours, engagement at external events, giving talks to potential donors and numerous photo and video shoots of my daily activities. I never get tired of talking about my research to anyone who will listen! If I’m having a few bad scientific days (let’s face it, we all know what they feel like), giving a lab tour, taking our Killer T cell game to an event, or even having some photos taken, although I wasn’t entirely prepared for my picture to be quite so big in the hospital canteen, gives a new-found sense of motivation.
I’ve matured as a scientist working in the Somers Cancer Research Building, where I completed my PhD and early post-doc, and have grown up with my lab ‘family’ in that space! The space in Somers has served me well, having everything I needed within arm’s reach. Although I was incredibly attached to my space, the move into the new Centre has been an exciting and uplifting opportunity for a Spring clean both physically and mentally.
I’ve heard the building referred to as the ‘Chocolate Box’ by numerous people, and on a sunny day the copper colour really is magnificent. But it’s inside, where the action is happening that really gets my motivation going. As you enter the building you walk into the bright and spacious atrium, which gives a great sense of freedom. I’ve already seen several events held here for people to mingle, as well as a place for us occupants to have informal meetings over a cup of coffee.
Our new state-of-the-art lab floor is an inspiring place to be working. The floor contains numerous dedicated rooms for specific techniques, such as protein production, blood processing, flow cytometry and PCR, which I have no doubt will improve productivity and collaboration amongst the different research areas within the building.
Cell culture is a major part of the research that goes on in this building, and that has certainly been catered for, with three well equipped tissue culture suites. The general lab areas are spacious, bright and a generous size! I’m especially pleased with my bench space, as not only do I have more space (some would say more room for clutter), I have shelves, which is something I’ve lacked for a while. I feel like I’ve been upgraded from economy to business class! Already the sense of collegiality and collaboration is growing. I feel like my lab network is expanding daily and we are really getting a new community vibe.
Within the Centre for Cancer Immunology, my research remains one of ‘basic’ focus, understanding the normal cellular processes of how our cells display a ‘snapshot’ of the internal cell environment to our killer T cells and how this changes in different cancers so they hide from immune detection. It’s fascinating to see how our research fits in with the wider scheme of the Centre, housing basic researchers like myself all the way to those involved in running the clinical trials that may one day stem from our basic scientific discoveries. I’m certainly excited to see the future impact we will have on cancer immunology!
Dr Emma Reeves, Research Fellow, Centre for Cancer Immunology
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