Science for Health
26 September 2012
NIMR’s Research Summer School, funded by the Nuffield Science Bursary Scheme, provides an exciting opportunity for a number of Year 12 students who are interested in a career in science or medicine to conduct their own research. This summer the Institute hosted ten students from ten different schools in north London and Hertfordshire.
Students spend a month at the Institute during the summer working alongside and under the supervision of Institute scientists. The students carry out defined projects with achievable outcomes which contribute to the work of NIMR. The students make genuine contributions to their host lab and feel a real sense of ownership about their projects.
Sinead Reading, from Sandringham School in Hertfordshire, worked in Paul Driscoll’s lab in the Division of Molecular Structure.
The project I worked on is research and not just a school experiment – we did not know if the project would be successful, making the outcome all the more fascinating. I was made to feel very welcome and was treated as an equal by all of the researchers I worked with. Being thrown in at the academic 'deep- end' can be an intimidating process but I always felt supported and understood by my supervisor. Before this summer, all I new about NMR spectroscopy was what it stood for. Now I understand how it works and I learnt to prepare and analyse NMR spectra using specialist software. Working at NIMR confirmed my passion for science and that I am tenacious in my decision to study biochemistry at university.
It was a pleasure to have Sinead working with us over the summer. Not only do we regard it as important to give young people early exposure to 'real' science - since a few of us also had that kind of important formative experience - but it is good for us to have the opportunity to answer the types of questions that we get from our school students and to think about or work from a different perspective. It is only a shame that Sinead's stay was as short as it was: there is always more work that can be done, new lessons to learn, results to analyse, discoveries to ponder.
Praveen Prathapan, from Queen Elizabeth’s School in Barnet worked with Abdul Sesay in the Genomics Facility.
Meeting scientists with varying levels of experience from Nuffield students such as myself to Undergraduates and to PhDs has shown me what is in store for me in the future as I embark on pursing research science as a career. Working in the labs at NIMR has allowed me to appreciate science as a practical, hands-on subject.
It’s great having a young student in the lab. Their enthusiasm, energy and curiosity with the added ability to soak up every bit of information you feed them is all inspiring. It was an incredibly and rewarding experience for me and the lab.
Bethany Schneiderman, from Hasmonean High School, worked in Tim Mohun’s lab in the Division of Developmental Biology, and described it as “a thoroughly enjoyable experience, helping me to gain both new skills and confidence in the lab. It has confirmed my choice to study science in university and was truly four weeks well spent”. Matthew Chin, from Ashmole Academy, worked in Malcolm Logan’s lab in the Divisions of Developmental Biology, and said “I was able to further my understanding of particular topics of embryology that interested me and I learnt about the workings of daily lab life and the hard work behind the published paper. This gave me a whole new appreciation of medical research. The skills that I gained will be useful for me when I go to university”.
Projects for summer 2013 will be announced later in the year.
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