Louisa Iselin

'I don’t think I was sure what to expect as it is such a different environment and way of working to anything I had experienced before. Although I had spent a week in a lab previously, going to the lab at Imperial made me realise that every group has a very different vibe and can work in very different ways.'

Why did you apply for a Nuffield Research Placement?

I was almost certain I wanted to pursue a career in research but had never spent any extended length of time in a lab setting. I thought this would offer an amazing opportunity to see what the life of a research scientist looked like while also participating in something that made me very excited

What was your project about and did you know anything about the area before getting started?

We were working on building a model for multidrug resistance in cancer. Although I knew quite a bit about cancer biology from reading, I had never heard of the process of stochastic switching that Alice (my supervisor) was going to be looking at. Although this wasn’t something I had to know about for day to day work, it was fascinating to read up on it in preparation for my report.

Did you gain any new skills, both scientific and general work skills, from undertaking your placement?

I definitely improve my pipetting skills but I also learnt many other lessons, such as remembering to write down everything you do and keep things organised and labelled and how to ensure sterility and prevent cross-contamination through careful, thoughtful work.

How did your supervisor help you with your project?

Alice was amazingly helpful. She explained all the theory to me that I needed to know and talking me through each protocol and the science behind it as we went along. She also gave me a certain degree of independence, leaving me to do things on my own, which both allowed me to understand better what it was I was actually doing and also gave me more of a sense of achievement.

Has your experience helped you to decide on a career path?

Yes; I am now firmly set on a career as a research scientist and am excited to get started!

What are your future plans?

I have an offer to study Biomedical Sciences at Oxford University so will hopefully go there and then start my career in cancer biology.