Dance Your PhD 2014

With the announcement that her video has reached Science Magazine’s “Dance Your PhD” finalists this week, guest author Ina Kirmes writes about what inspired her to take part in the competition. Ina is a PhD student in the Reid group. Her choreography “Unbreak my Heart” shows how a heart attack can lead to long-term consequences, which have an epigenetic cause.

Ina Kirmes and her team of dancers in “Unbreak My Heart”. Read more on Vimeo.

Translating my thesis into a dance for the “Dance Your PhD” competition has encouraged me to think about alternative ways that scientists can present their work to help make it more accessible. There is some great research going on at the moment, but we need to find creative ways to communicate it, so that it can be easily understood and so that it gets the attention it deserves.

Contests like “Dance Your PhD”, along with various lab parodies that can be found on the internet (e.g. the Lady Gaga cover “bad project”), also bring a lighter perspective to the sometimes frustrating business of daily life in a lab. It can help in moments of frustration to know that PhD students all over the world struggle with similar problems but continue to find enjoyment in their work!

We had great fun putting together our entry at IMB. We recorded our video on two evenings, and my summer student and I were still tinkering with the props and preparations just a few hours before the shoot. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues, particularly those who were brave enough to wear the “histone hats”, which were made from tights stuffed with balloons.

Taking part in this contest has been an interesting and enjoyable challenge and I’m proud that our video has made it to the finals.