My Enthusiasm About The Academic Rigor Studying Biomedical Sciences

Undertaking medical work experience at St Mary’s Hospital confirmed that academic research into the functions of the body and the ways it can be affected by disease is what captivates me. This placement gave me an invaluable understanding into the application of medicine, as well as an appreciation of the impact that biomedical scientists have on the lives of many patients.

Health and pathology have always intrigued me. A talk about the therapeutic and social issues of HIV, and attending a Medical Research Council festival have exposed me to current research into diseases. Notably, the book ‘Missing Microbes’ engaged me in the pressing issue of antimicrobial resistance, and I enjoyed cementing this knowledge in an essay exploring the alternatives to antibiotics. I witnessed the severity and frequency of this in a clinical setting when a patient suffered from resistant bacteria in her uterus. When I designed and conducted a research project into the optimum temperature for transforming E. coli, I developed my understanding of the mechanisms that cause resistance. The independent nature of the investigation was demanding, as I used new molecular biology techniques, yet rewarding, as I had the freedom to develop my own ideas.

At Guy’s Cancer Centre, I shadowed researchers who were genetically targeting T-cells against cancer. I enjoyed grappling with the complex concepts I was introduced to. Learning about the success of their clinical trial affirmed that I want to work in a field which minimizes suffering. Volunteering at the residential home Elgin Close and running workshops for children at the Evelina Hospital have further enlightened me to the influence such research can have. On a recent Phab camp, I acted as a full-time carer for a woman with Down syndrome. This eye-opening experience made me appreciate the difficulty of living with a genetic condition.

Reading ‘The Violinist’s Thumb’ and ‘The Epigenetics Revolution’ have enhanced my understanding of genetics and their increasingly important role in healthcare. Moreover, multiple books exploring human physiology have made me realize the importance of genes on an anatomical scale. On a Biomedical Engineering Summer School, I expanded my knowledge of how the interface between technology and research is rapidly advancing our understanding of the human body. A particular presentation on ‘lab on a chip’ brought my attention to the ever changing nature of how we study cells, organs and systems, which I found invigorating.

As an avid listener of The Guardian’s Science Weekly podcast, I have learnt to critically approach these innovative advancements in science. This skill was vital in writing a summer project on curing ageing. It was fascinating to research the various theories behind the process of ageing, and evaluating the potential for the widespread use of several treatments. I have enjoyed sharing these analytical skills by tutoring maths and verbal reasoning.

Taking part in the Chemistry Analyst Competition improved my practical skills and my understanding of the need for analysis in research. This was invaluable when I conducted an independent synthesis and purification of paracetamol. A subsequent write up prompted further reading into the history of analgesics and the concept of pain, precipitating an interest into the expanding field of neuroscience. An enthralling lecture by Dr Henry Marsh compelled me to read his memoir, ‘Do No Harm’, giving me further insight into the functioning of the brain.

Captaining the school netball team and working as an assistant netball coach have developed my ability to communicate effectively under pressure. Being a ball girl at Wimbledon, undertaking Gold DofE and completing the Richmond Half Marathon are experiences which have challenged me physically and mentally. On reflection, I consider myself a well-rounded student who is enthused about the academic rigor studying biomedical sciences will bring.

03 December 2019
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