Dr Laura Stone completed her Nuffield Research Placement in 2000 at the University of Bristol. She subsequently completed a BSc in Cancer Genetics there before going on to study Medicine at Cardiff University.
What was your project about?
I spent 4 weeks in the CLIC laboratory at Bristol University undertaking experiments and learning about cancer genetics. I was taught about how genes are switched on and off and how this can cause cancer. I put this into practice by carrying out experiments involving gene activation and subsequent protein expression of luciferase, a light that is produced.
What was the highlight/best bit of your placement?
I found understanding about the underlying principles of cancer genetics fascinating and encouraged me to select the study cell biology module at A-level and subsequently study cancer genetics at Bristol University.
What was your least favourite part of the placement?
It was difficult at times at there was so much to learn. I hadn’t studied any cell biology at school at that point so it was an intense, steep learning curve. I also remember feeling a little sad that the placement was during the school holidays!
Did your Nuffield Research Placement have an effect on the choices that you made after finishing school/college/university?
Absolutely. Having found such an interest in genetics my supervisor encouraged me to apply to study within the department at degree level. Having enjoyed the theory side of the degree but not the research I then went on to study to be a medical doctor.
If you could give one piece of advice to Nuffield students about to start a placement what would it be?
It’s important to think about where your future studies and experiences will take you. If thinking about university or apprenticeships, think about the type of job it will lead to. I would encourage students to think about their future and vocations. If a particular area of science interests you, discuss this with your supervisor, teacher, parents, careers advisors etc to see if working within that area would suit you.