SfAM Summer Student Placement Scholarship: growing confidence

Rachael Burton’s lab internship was at the University of Plymouth’s microbiology department with Dr Philip Warburton, funded by an SfAM Summer Studentship Grant.

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My summer internship looked into the effectiveness of a Propolis-based mouthwash (an element found in honey) as an antimicrobial against various bacteria that are often the cause of oral diseases. During my project I was involved in developing methodology, conducting experiments and analysing data. At first, I found working in the lab challenging with many new techniques to get to grips with, however as the weeks went on, I really grew in confidence both practically and theoretically. I learnt the value of fundamental experiments and using the data produced from them to draw conclusions and employ more complex lab techniques to further my investigation. While this project is still in its early stages, the initial data that I have collected will allow me to continue on in this area for my dissertation.

Overall, this summer placement has been an amazing experience and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. The deep understanding of the research process that I now have will prove invaluable as I progress to a master’s degree and later as I pursue a career in public health.


Rachael Burton

University of Plymouth