Apart from the fact that today is “Bridgemas” (i.e. Cambridge Christmas) Boxing Day and that therefore the actual festive season is about to begin, it is also the start of PhD interview season. Next week two other people from the Cambridge biochemistry course and I will head to London to be interviewed (and interrogated about a particular paper that we will have read in advance) at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre. So anyone reading this who has been through the PhD interview process themselves: I’m sure we would appreciate some advice. For example, were there any questions that completely caught you by surprise? Maybe in hindsight you realised that was an obvious thing to discuss, but it just hadn’t crossed your mind while you were preparing for the interview? What’s the most useful thing you can ask the current students and post-docs in a lab of interest? Any help is welcome!
Lastly, on an unrelated note but regarding one of my favourite subjects, CRISPR: a new review by one of the pioneering CRISPR researchers, Jennifer Doudna, was released only a few days ago (Hochstrasser & Doudna (2014)) and gives a great overview of the three different CRISPR/Cas systems. I like it especially because it focusses mainly on the underlying biochemistry (including Cas protein structures), which is becoming more and more overlooked as many people have started to use CRISPR for genome-engineering on a daily basis.
Hochstrasser ML, Doudna JA (2014) Cutting it close: CRISPR-associated endoribonuclease structure and function. Trends in Biochemical Sciences.