Helen Powell

0+4 A*STAR Student

I am doing a 0+4 PhD in the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences at the IoPPNMy project involves investigating experiences of affective touch in autistic individuals, and how this might relate to social impairments. 

I chose the MRC DTP primarily because of the diversity and depth of opportunities it offersNot having to fulfil project-specific criteria also allowed me to make the jump from a scientific background that differed from the general field of my project. Furthermore, as my project will involve a collaboration with the A*STAR Institute in Singapore, it will give me the chance to experience two different research cultures and gain a wider breadth of research skills 

Before my PhD, I did my undergraduate degree in Pharmacology at Newcastle University, and my master’s degree in Pharmacological Innovation at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France. also worked for a few years in clinical research, first as Clinical Trial Assistant, and later as a Medical Writer at a Phase I Trial Unit.  

What I like most about the MRC DTP is the level of support that is provided. Despite starting a PhD in the midst of a pandemic, I felt very well-supported by staff and student reps, and I am particularly grateful for the sense of companionship that exists within my cohortI have also appreciated being able to attend a variety of DTP workshops, which have eased me back into the world of academia and allowed me to gain useful skills that are specific to my project, such as in R programming and statistical analysis.