The Other Marshalls

October 9, 2007

By hammersmith

We don’t intend for you to read this post, pack your bags, and catch the next flight to Heathrow. But that might be the consequence of reading any further.

A couple of years ago, Becky Mosher (’94) was finishing her Ph.D. in genetics at Duke, and trolling around for a postdoc opportunity. She came across the Marshall Sherfield Fellowship, which is sorta connected to the more famous Marshall Scholarship, except that there are at most two Marshall Sherfields per year.

Becky writes here about what the experience has been like. And here’s some more of the story:

I’m still in the UK doing postdoc research and enjoying it greatly. I work in a city called Norwich that is wonderful. It has a castle, a cathedral and a lively city center, and it benefits from being about 100 miles from London. Close enough to head down for the weekend, but far enough away to have a character of its own. I just moved house to a nearby town called Wymondham (pronounced Windum–they love extra letters here) that is almost unreal. I live in the shadow of an old abbey, amid stone row houses with tiny doors, and a short walk from the 13th-century pub.

Work is also going very well. I’m studying the biosynthesis and function of a group of tiny genetic regulators called small RNAs. They’ve made a lot of press lately and were the subject of a Nobel last year. I work with the man who first discovered them (but sadly missed out on the Nobel) and I’ve very excited about the research. I plan to continue my postdoc for another 1.5 years and then look for a faculty position either here or in the U.S.

In the meantime, I’m just trying to enjoy myself. I’m a member of the National Trust, and there are a number of beautiful places to go walking (hiking) here. Norfolk is blessed to be the sunniest place in England (or so they brag), so even when the weather is cold, there’s usually a little sunshine for a walk. Last March I took a trip to Scotland and walked up Ben Lawers, a 4,000-ft peak and the 10th highest in Scotland. If I could have seen the top from the bottom, I might not have made it, but in the end I did and built a snowman at the top!

Maybe someplace it gets better than that. Maybe…