Veronica Idebohn

 

11/1-2016

Hi there!

I’m leaving for Cuernavaca in a week, where I’ll be working on the “Breath analysis for clinical diagnostics: Pre-diabetes” project once I get there. I completed my physics bachelor last spring and started my master’s degree the following fall.

What I’m looking most forward to (except for the warm weather, the cultural experience and the fresh fruit) is getting to experience labs that aren’t all planned out, and getting to try the experimental part of physics (where all the labs aren’t predictable and planned so that all results can be found in the lab folder). Since I have no clue what to do with the rest of my life I thought that this would be a great experience, and hopefully help me sort my thoughts out.

Here’s a description of the project I’m going to be working on:

Diabetes is currently the first cause of death among the Mexican population, and one of the most severe health problems in the developed world. Although diagnostic methods exist to detect this disease, the condition termed as pre-diabetes, where sugar levels are still “normal” but insulin activity is in overdrive is still a hard status to diagnose at early stages. Early detection of pre-diabetes would be of fundamental importance to the Mexican health system as the treatment of this condition and the avoidance of actual diabetes would be possible. This would imply reducing both the cost of public health devoted to diabetes, and the quality of life of the patients and their families. We are currently carrying out a program of detecting the biomarkers present in the human breath in order to establish statistical correlations that could lead to identifying specific biomarkers for pre-diabetic condition. For this, we use state of the art Gas Chromatography and mass spectrometry, compressed sensing techniques for identifying and quantifying the metabolites and statistical analysis for identifying correlation of multiple components. The project is being carried out in collaboration with the National Hospital of Mexico (Hospital General de Mexico), the institute of Mathematics and the Clinic for prevention of diabetes.

It would be cool to work on something like this in real life – I just love it how we can use science to help people. Since this has a direct application (and has a more tangible goal than Graphene research for instance) it’s a good match to my impatience – I want to see things happen 🙂

Next time you hear from me, I’ll be in Mexico!

¡Hasta luego!


First Impressions

 

5/2-2016

Hola!

I’ve been in Mexico, Cuernavaca, for a bit more than two weeks now and I’m loving it!

I feel as if I’ve gotten into some kind of a habit which is nice. I can tell you that my every day routine includes way more juice than my every day life in Sweden! Joking aside, the first week or so was more or less spent understanding that this is where I’ll live for the next semester. It was quite hard to grasp the first days! And seeing I’m going to live here, I soon realized that my flat was extremely under furnished when it came to every day chores like doing the dishes. So, as well as getting into the Mexico-mode, the first week was also spent making my flat habitable. This means buying a bason to do the dishes in, getting a broom (who am I kidding? I bought that two days ago, I don’t even vacuum at home), a saucepan, etc – you get the picture. Other than being under furnished, my place is really beautiful!

A few pictures of my courtyard. My apartment is nice as well, but not as pretty as this. I mean, I have lemons growing in my courtyard! How cool is that?

And seeing I’m here as an exchange student, I guess I should describe the work I’m doing as well. But first thing’s first. Some pictures of Instituto de Ciencias Físicas (ICF hereafter):

 

Just a few pictures of the area. And of course the coffee machine in the coffee room. Or as both Antonio (my supervisor and examiner) and his phd-student called it – the most important part of the institute.

Work wise, I’ve started getting into the real work rather than the soft start up exercises we were given in the beginning. Today I’ve gotten acquainted with Rabi oscillations and on Monday, I’ll look into where I can buy 2-hexanone and what precautions I have to take when constructing my lab set up to take measurements.

Yesterday, me and Sandra went to Mexico City to look at the campus there (it’s HUGE). U.N.A.M. is mostly situated in Mecixo City, but have a few places spread out around in Mexico, so it is basically the same university, we’re just in another city. I got to meet the other students working on the same project I’m on, but on other ends of the problem. I must say it’s refreshing to be a part of a project working towards something with such a well defined goal.

I have lots more to write about (I could write all day, Mexico is quite different to Sweden), but I’m off to go play some pool with Sandra and Isra, so I guess I’ll see you later!

Hasta luego!