I gained my BSc Biology at the University of Southampton. Having come straight from a BSc, I knew I wanted to go on to do a PhD but I felt I had not got had enough experience in the lab to make the decision to commit to a particular project for 4 years. The DTP was perfect for me, as I can get a flavour for the different techniques and lab environments before picking one.
I love the opportunity to be flexible but also being part of a cohort filled with similar and like-minded people – the programme really encourages us to get involved with each other at social events, which is really nice. The broad workshop catalogue and career seminar series is also great as it give you the tools to learn even more than what you get from your rotations as well as important skills to get through a PhD, something I don’t think you find in many other places. I’ve also gained so much more experience since I’ve been here which is really what I wanted from this training programme.
My main lab experience was during a summer internship as a researcher at the Translational Research Institute in Brisbane, undertaking a project organised by University of Queensland. I worked with Prof. Maher Gandhi and Dr. Frank Vari to characterise biomarkers for Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, mainly using flow cytometry. During my undergraduate degree, I did a plant-based wet lab project so unfortunately did not find myself in a laboratory, but this did give me experience with writing up.
My first rotation was investigating into the roles of the RNA-binding proteins LARP4A and LAR4B in osteosarcoma (with Prof. Agi Grigoriadis and Prof. Sasi Conte). My second rotation was investigating intracellular calcium release responses to membrane potential regulating compounds in prostate cancer cell lines, as well as exploring the concept of single-walled carbon nanotubes also in this context (with Dr. Aamir Ahmed). My final rotation will be with Prof. Andrew Cope and Dr. Dylan Owen, looking into the clustering behaviour of the PTPN22 phosphatase which is mutated in many autoimmune diseases.