My name is Siri (yes it is!) and this is my first blog post as a EvoCELL PhD student at the Natural History Museum in Berlin. To be honest, I find it quite hard to find something smart to say about what I am doing right now. I’m one and a half months into my PhD and I’m still trying to figure out in which direction I am going, but more to be ok not to know – which is also the point of researching!

This is me looking at a coal mining area from a bird’s eye perspective – a video installation at the ARTEFACTS exhibition by the Natural History Museum Berlin with video and photo material from J Henry Fair. My work environment is very inspirational, exciting, and informative!

My project is about communicating cell type evolution to the public, so how to explain the scientific concepts and discoveries of the other EvoCELL projects in an understandable and reliable way. The novel part of my research, and what makes it also a PhD project, is that I’m looking into how to communicate the science through a virtual exhibition. And because there is not a great amount of literature and good examples of virtual exhibitions out there yet I have basically free choice in what I want to investigate further into and experiment with. So for the past few weeks I’ve been reading, reading, taking notes, reading, reading, taking notes, reading,…, and reading. I do have a better idea of the research field now than 1.5 months ago but I don’t feel like I am finished with my literature review yet (I’ve been told this is completely normal – may take a year). This may also be because I have written only bits and pieces about what I have been reading so far. Trust the process I keep telling myself and good news: today I wrote a specific research question that I like to investigate with a systematic literature review.


Ideally, I like to enhance and support active communication between the public and the scientists, but also between highly specialized scientists as they sometimes don’t understand each other either due the language barrier provoked by the specialization. So how to best develop a virtual exhibition where everyone can understand each other, and gain a change of perspective? Well, I hope I can give you the answer by the end of my PhD!