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Why Healthy Living Science blog?

Hello World! Welcome to our Healthy Living Science blog!

Healthy Living Science is a research group initiated by Mandy Kaur, Poonam Mehta and Alex Mącznik. The three of us are health researches with a background in physiotherapy. We are friends, who have been doing research together and from now on we will also run this blog!

How did we meet? Background story

The three of us met at the University of Otago (New Zealand) during our PhDs (2011- 2015). Sharing our PhD experiences through this first serious research project brought us closer.

At the beginning of my PhD, I attended a skills development workshop, facilitated by the Higher Education Development Centre (HEDC) and School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago. At this workshop I was paired up with Poonam.

We had a task of explaining to our partner the reasons for doing a PhD. I said that I do it for the fun of learning new things and a joy of problem solving. But Poonam had a reason I was not expecting.

She said that she has always dreamed about being a PhD. Doing a PhD was a goal she had carried with her from a very young age and now she was living her dream!

This blew my mind and almost made me cry. This moment changed me forever. I felt such a gratitude for the circumstances I had in my life, the opportunities I had been given, and the help I had received from so many people along the way. This feeling had never left me.

Mandy enrolled in the PhD programme a little bit later, in year 2014. She was this spark of joy who arrived in New Zealand and only one week into her PhD exclaimed that she did NOT want to do it anymore. What? – was my initial thought.

She was such a bold strong woman and impressed me so much with her attitude of being true to herself. I guess the whole experience of moving to another country, with different culture, to do this three-years-long research project had overwhelmed her a bit. Luckily, deep down she really wanted to pursue a research career, and eventually decided to work on her PhD, and graduated in 2018.


Impact of PhD

Our PhDs impacted us in more ways than one. We are not reluctant to say that this was a life changing experience. It was like opening the doors through which you can see, approach, and almost touch thousand things you had no idea even existed. We see our research as an opportunity to make a small change for the better in the world, and in the lives of other people. What a privilege!

We share way more memories than the ones related to our projects, though. The lessons we learnt while working on the PhD projects are obviously invaluable. We cannot thank enough to our mentors and PhD supervisors for facilitating this journey.

The three of us became real friends pretty quickly. My PhD was awarded in the presence of these two amazing ladies. We have not only influenced each other, learned from each other in the science-related sense, but also grew as women and human beings.

All three of us got married to our partners during that time, were blessed to have babies along the way. Now looking back at this time, I want to say, what an amazing journey we had!


Why the blog?

Science has been a big part of our lives. At different stages of our lives, many people taught us, helped us and challenged us, which inspired us to learn more, ask questions and look for solutions. This has made a permanent mark on our personalities. We have so much to be thankful for. This blog is our effort to give back to the community.

Also, we wanted to say “Thank you” to the participants who volunteered for our research projects, for their time and the gift of their data! The goal of this blog is to share our Science. We want more people to be able to read and understand the science we produce, because whatever we do in our laboratories every day, we do it for you!

Science is for the people by the people.

Adapted from Caren Cooper’s guest post for Scientific American

There are other reasons for creating this blog too. All three of us worked on publicly funded scholarships or projects. We have received public money on our education in different countries. Let this blog be one of the ways for us to pay it back. If through this blog, we are able to educate, inspire or help one person, we will be happy!

What will you see on this blog?

We will be sharing our past and current research adventures along with experiences of working in academia. Also, we will try our best to translate research findings in more digestible way for a person who is not involved in doing research. Additionally, we will be inviting various guests who can share their knowledge and facilitate a healthy living for all of us.

Watch this space!


Alex, Mandy and Poonam

Health Living Science