02 Oct 2022

Student placement testimonials

Here is a selection of testimonials from past awardees of the scholarship:

2022 Awardees

Ruth Franklin (Dr Melissa Lacey): Impact of historic iron-rich ochre pollution on antibiotic resistance within the soil microbiome

I learned a plethora of new specialised laboratory techniques and protocols, as well as gaining the unique opportunity to work with state-of-the-art technology. Combining my microbiological research with that of biochemical techniques demonstrated to me the interdisciplinary nature of applied microbiology. Not only this, being able to work alongside researchers of various career levels opened my eyes to the various exciting career options available to me in the future. By working in an increasingly independent fashion, my confidence was increased so that I now feel ready to progress onto the next stage of my career. Using these new-found skills and inspirations, I have honed my research focus to uncovering the effect of pollution on antibiotic resistance in the soil microbiome. I am currently in the process of applying for PhD programmes of study which will allow me to pursue this research endeavour and feel confident in my chances of success due to the valuable experiences gained through my summer project.

Timothy Groves (Dr Tosin Somorin): Understanding gas-liquid mass transfer and bubble behaviour in biogenic carbon enrichment of partially-digested sludge

Personally, this internship was beneficial to me because it developed my skills in individual project work. This will be very helpful as I complete my Master’s next year, which involves an individual research project. This internship has provided invaluable preparation for this. The opportunity also necessitated developing goals and aims and figuring out the best way to achieve these. The write up of the project was another factor which will be useful in producing reports in future working life.

Frances Atcheson (Dr Thomas Thompson): Discovery of new antibiotics from subterranean extreme environments

Completion of this project has taught me a great deal about the role of an individual working in academic research. I’ve gained experience in a variety of techniques used in the lab that I had not previously been exposed to, for example, how to selectively culture bacteria from environmental samples, including the reading that is necessary prior to carrying out such work. Additionally, I gained an insight into the software available to support academic research. I now feel more confident that I may be able to complete a PhD in the future, and consequently pursue a career in pharmaceutical research.  I am glad I completed this project, thus taking a step toward my desired career. 

Sam Everett (Dr Hong Gao): The effects of SIR2 overexpression on the growth and antibiotic biosynthesis of Streptomyces

I learnt a lot from the summer scholarship programme especially doing everything from the very start. I feel that it will certainly help me going forward into employment I would recommend that it is worth other undergaduates completing these projects to gain better experience and understanding of the lab work. I have much more belief in my abilities to perform experiments in the lab.

Olha Zhermerdyey (Dr Timofey Skvortsov): Isolation of bacteriophages against major UTI associated bacterial pathogens

My placement not only allowed me to gain new skills, but to also learn how to work independently in the lab environment, compared to teaching-based labs where every step of the process is already defined. While challenging at first, I grew to really appreciate the hard work and dedication that is needed to produce even the smallest amount of quality data. I thoroughly enjoyed my lab work and was saddened when it came to an end but, such experience has perhaps shaped me into a more knowledgeable scientist, ready to tackle the difficulties of scientific research within my upcoming final year undergraduate dissertation.

Harriet Collinge (Dr Sarah Keuhne): The role of 2nd messengers in virulence of Fusobacterium nucleatum

Having completed my Bachelor’s in the summer of 2021, I sadly got limited lab experience due to the pandemic and I am grateful for the scholarship providing me the opportunity to get this key experience with more independence. Furthermore, during my undergrad, I thoroughly enjoyed my dissertation on the impact of Fusobacterium nucleatum on colorectal cancer. I am appreciative that the placement allowed me to further explore this interesting and understudied bacterium and visualise some of the methods I had read about. Additionally, I was able to get an insight and practice the skills involved in doing research such as report writing, which will be useful heading into my Master’s. I am very grateful for the experience.