Mykel Clarke

What was your research project about?

I have been working on the synthesis of molecularly imprinted polymers, also known as MIPs, which are used to bind complementary molecules.  MIPs are useful as sensors for specific chemical markers and they could have applications in medicine, analytical chemistry, biology and engineering.

Did you know anything about this area before you started?

Not a lot. My supervisor did give me a report that I read up on but most of my understanding came once I'd started to actually follow the experimental procedures. Some of the processes were fairly similar to those I'd done at school, though.

What is it like undertaking a placement?

I was kind of nervous to begin with but after a short while I just got stuck into the work. Now it feels quite normal coming into the lab every day and getting on with the protocols which I have to follow. I feel like I know what I'm doing now and I'm pretty confident about completing the work.

I've gained a better understanding of what it's like working in a scientific environment as well as having gained some fantastic experience working with highly technical equipment.

What have you learnt about careers in STEM through undertaking your Nuffield Research Placement?

I've realised that working in a laboratory can be good fun.  The team have a good laugh now and then which is nice.  I think that I've come to appreciate that working in this field involves carrying out quite a lot of precise, repetitive tasks.  You need to have patience to test out theories properly but it is always worth it in the end.