Science for Health
14 August 2012
Sandwich placements provide students with the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in a research lab for 12 months and to work on an independent research project. Pre-university positions are also sometimes available.
I was based in Dr Ian Taylor’s lab within the Division of Molecular Structure. My project focused on a retroviral protein known as Foamy Virus Gag. During the project I obtained numerous skills including protein production, purification and crystallisation along with other analytical techniques. I am happy to say that the project was very successful and resulted in the determination of a Foamy Virus Gag crystal structure. I found the NIMR a great place to socialise outside of the lab thanks to facilities such as the onsite bar, monthly social events and weekly sporting activities. The subsidised canteen and Costa coffee shop were very reasonably priced and made living in London much more affordable. Overall this year at NIMR has strengthened my desire to work in research and as a result I aim to study for a PhD after I graduate.
This year I spent six months doing work experience at NIMR before going to Cambridge University to study Natural Sciences (Biological). I spent three months each in two different laboratories. In all honesty, I have not the words to express how much I learnt and enjoyed my experience. Although I was exceedingly naive, lacking in both experience and knowledge, everyone I met took time to answer any and all questions that I had (and there were many of them). Not only were they incredibly patient, but also everyone I met at the Institute made me feel welcome. For anyone who is willing and eager to learn I can think of no better place for student research studies.
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