The Importance of Self Care

Meet Kim, a service dog from Therapy Dogs International who payed a visit to the students and research staff at Michigan State University last week.

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The event, organised by the Michigan State Graduate wellness team, promoted time off for both students and junior faculty alike to unwind and let-off some of the stress that comes with working and studying.

I’ve been vocal in the past about the importance of mental health, particularly in science and research, but it was refreshing to see an academic institution actively promoting the mental well-being of their students and employees.

In academia in particular, mental health is usually overlooked and ignored, despite it’s high prevalence. Burnout, depression and anxiety are all common place and, in many cases, contribute to why people decide to leave their field of study or research entirely.

Taking some time out is important, especially when faced with stress and constant pressure. This doesn’t mean you have to take your eye off the prize but simply taking some time to read a book, go for a walk, eat a good meal or socialise with friends will not only make you happier and mentally more healthy, it’ll also put you in a better frame of mind to meet those deadlines, study that bit more and reach your potential.

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Kim getting antiquated.
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Gran Torino, the smooth collie.

Bioengineering Facility Grand Opening

When I joined Michigan State University back in 2014, the Bioengineering building was just a shell. Now 2 years later, the building finally had it’s opening.

The aim of the new building is to bring together researchers, across a multitude of disciplines, to begin to answer some of the many unmet needs in medical research.

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I have often said the future of healthcare is interdisciplinary, so it is very reassuring to see Michigan State taking steps to ensure that there is a place on campus for this kind of collaboration. The building itself will house chemists, cell biologist and computer scientist to name just a few and will be organised in such a way that facilities and equipment are available to all.

Key to the opening of the new facility was the recruitment of a director who shared the same vision of research as a collaborative enterprise. The facility will be led by Chris Contag, a leader in imaging technology, whose remarks at the opening ceremony really emphasised the building’s future direction.
“The disciplines are growing to the point where they are intersecting with other disciplines, and so the frontiers of discovery are not just where one discipline hits the unknown, but where the junction of multiple disciplines come together.”

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Researchers are set to move into the building in as soon as a month: it’s an exciting time for Michigan State!

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The event was also covered by the state news and includes some extracts from an interview with me: http://statenews.com/article/2016/10/bio-engineering-opening