Emma Batchen completed her Nuffield Research Placement in 2009 at LifeScan Scotland Ltd. She now studies Cardiovascular Sciences at The University of Edinburgh.
What was your project about?
My project was entitled: ‘Assessment of a novel FAD-GDH enzymes for use in a home blood glucose test strip’. This project involved investigating the use of a new enzyme in glucose test strips that diabetics use to measure their blood sugar levels. Measuring blood sugar levels is important for diabetics to determine whether they need to inject insulin if their blood sugar levels are too high, to allow for blood sugar to be absorbed into the body cells. If blood sugar levels are too low this is an indicator to each or drink something sugary to allow blood sugar levels to return to normal. I was testing to see if a more sensitive enzyme could be developed in the test strip to allow for more accurate readings to be given to the diabetic individual.
What was the highlight/best bit of your placement?
The experience of working in a real-life laboratory alongside scientists.
What was your least favourite part of the placement?
None- every experience was a valuable lesson and an insight into how science works in industry.
What path did you take after finishing your NRP and how has that led you to where you are today?
After finishing my placement, I was accepted at The University of Edinburgh to study Medical Sciences as my undergraduate degree. I then went on to continue my studies through a postgraduate Masters degree in Cardiovascular Sciences. I am now in the second year of my PhD also in Cardiovascular Sciences at The University of Edinburgh, so will hopefully graduate as a Doctor in 2017/18.
My NRP has given me valuable lab experience, without which I feel I would not have been given the opportunity to undertaken further study after my undergraduate degree. This was a valuable placement which allowed me to communicate my scientific research in interviews and displayed an initiative and drive to want to learn more about science.
Did your Nuffield Research Placement have an effect on the choices that you made after finishing school/college/university?
It solidified the fact that I definitely wanted to study science-with an emphasis on carrying out research as a career.
If you could give one piece of advice to Nuffield students about to start a placement what would it be?
Get involved in everything and anything you can- you will learn something (either good or bad) and gain valuable experience from everything you do!