2022 year in review

A look back at 2022

It’s been almost two years since we first heard about COVID-19 and while the virus is still around, ever evolving into new strains for its survival, people in many parts of the world appeared to have learned to live with it. The beginning of the 2022 was hectic with the rise of infections from the Delta variant shortly followed by the Omicron variant. Not to mention the military conflicts in Europe and the subsequent effects on the global economy, with inflation rates going up across rich countries making things more expensive and cost of living higher. Fortunately the ANU increased our base Research Training Program Scholarship stipend to alleviate the pressure of the increased cost of living. This end of the year is the first time since I’ve arrived in Australia that I feel things are finally settling down, no bushfires or new strains of COVID. The summer is here and it looks like we will finish the year on a high note.

Personally, it’s been another year full of learning new skills, professional development, and (re)connecting with friends. I’ve been able to travel home (overseas) for the first time in 28 months in April as travel restrictions began to ease. By October, international travel to most countries have resumed almost to pre-pandemic levels with some notable exceptions. Speaking of which, I began writing this post while on a flight back home again to see my whole family. It’s the first time we’ll all be together in over 3 years. Last year I didn’t do this, but here’s how 2022 went for me.


  • Avoiding COVID delta variant.
  • Worked mostly on trying to get the samples sequenced.
  • House/dog sitting and some DIY projects from leftover furnitures.
  • Began Capital Football pre-season training.


  • Spent two weeks learning how to process micro-CT data using VG Studio Max. I now have a pretty good grasp of how to segment micro-CT scans. Also played a lot of Transport Tycoon.
  • Samples sent for sequencing! Received the first AusARG data set for the blind snakes.


  • Processed raw molecular data using AusARG bioinformatic pipeline developed by Ian Brennan. Learned heaps about interacting with the server through the Linux terminal.
  • Travel to Thailand at the end of the month. First time since the beginning of the pandemic.


  • South Andaman SCUBA liveaboard trip.
  • First time-calibrated phylogeny. Kept working on refining and dropping samples that didn’t work.


  • Prepared 3rd annual report and documented disruptions from COVID-19
  • Started theory portion of the Cave Diving Association of Australia Basic Cave course.


  • Started to get cold in Canberra. Worked on blindsnake phylogeny.


  • First time attending ASH conference, but only lasted for a day because I got COVID! The beginning of the trip was promising, drove to Mylor, SA, with my labmate from Canberra stopping in Mildura.
  • Had to quarantine in South Australia for 5 days.
  • Drove back in a day!


  • Continued working on chapter 1 of thesis.


  • Applied for scholarship extension.
  • Spent two weeks in Mount Gambier cave diving and getting certified for Basic Cave. Also made a lot of progress to completing Full Cave certification.


  • Worked on writing up my thesis.
  • Applied for PhD-Industry internship with Diversity Arrays Technology


  • RSB HDR Student Conference


  • AES Conference 2022 in Canberra. It was awesome to see so many amazing scientists across Australasia in Canberra.


  • Submitted first chapter of my thesis to MPE
  • Learned how to dive with two independent cylinders and certified to dive in caves in Australia
Sarin 'Putter' Tiatragul
Sarin 'Putter' Tiatragul
PhD Candidate

I’m a Thai PhD candidate at the Research School of Biology (ANU). I go by the name “Putter”.