Hello! My name is Claudia Harflett, but you can call me Cloudy. Why am I doing this blog? Good question – I started it a while a go, but haven’t really kept up to date with it. Now I thought it would be a good way of recording my journey through my scientific career, and a way of writing down my thoughts and ideas.

As of June 2012 I have just handed in the final copy of my PhD thesis and after 6 months of searching, found a Research Assistant job! I think I landed it cos I used to work for the team before I started my PhD. The cycle of life eh?


Ecology, environmental sustainability.


DPhil (Jan 2008 – Jun 2012). University of Sussex. Zinc accumulation and its effects on herbivory and competitive ability in metallicolous populations of Rumex acetosa.

BSc (Hons) in Ecology 2005. (First Class). University of Hull, Scarborough Campus. Won Ecology Prize.


July 2012 to present: Research Assistant under Ian Shield & Jane Ward, AgroEcology, Rothamsted Research.

Research Assistant for the bioenergy crops team at Rothamsted Research as part of a new programme investigating the metabolomes of perennial biomass crops within the Cropping Carbon Institute Strategic Program. Duties involve organising and assisting with plant growth and harvesting, tissue preparation and development of new protocols for metabolite extraction from willow and other bioenergy crops.

2011. Research Assistant under Dr. Liz Rylott, University of York.

Assisted with a preliminary preference trial investigating the influence of ‘RDX’ soil contamination on Arabidopsis thaliana palatability in Col0 and XplAB genotypes using Schistocerca gregaria (desert locust).

Primary developer of the experimental design and protocol, located suppliers of and maintained S. gregaria cultures, and used IMAGE J software to calculate leaf surface areas.

2008-2010. Associate Tutor, Biology Department, University of Sussex.

Tutored undergraduates in small groups (< 12 students), and in practical demonstrations and field trips (< 20 students). Responsible for organizing sessions, teaching/ demonstrating set-work, marking assessments, and H&S.

2007. Metabolomics Technician under Dr. Jane Ward, Rothamsted Research.

Responsible for plant sample handling and storage, plant solvent extraction and HPLC analysis for the EU Health Grain Project, involving large sample numbers.

2007. Field Assistant under Dr. Juliet Osbourne, Rothamsted Research.

Plant and pollinator identification and abundance scoring for temporal surveys of permanent transects and plant stands in agricultural crop fields. Data-recording for a large number of sample. Maintenance of experimental field plots and plants.


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