Makishakini Janarajan

Why did you decide to apply for a Nuffield Research Placement?

It was my chemistry teacher who told me about the NRP scheme and I thought it would be helpful for getting into university.  My ambition is to study medicine at Cambridge so I wanted to be able to demonstrate my commitment to the subject by undertaking a research placement.

What was your research project about?

We were making a new device to identify breast cancer, since it is often difficult to identify tumours using traditional mammography, particularly when the cancer is in a late stage of development. It’s a simple test that anyone can use at home.  There are two ‘biomarkers’ found in blood which the device uses to detect breast cancer and the project involved testing whether it works with only one such marker being present in someone’s blood.

What were the highlights of the project for you?

Having the opportunity to use real equipment in a proper research laboratory.  Usually in school we are just watching the teacher demonstrate a particular procedure but during the placement we have been able to practise these skills ourselves.  I have been able to develop skills in making scientific measurements in the nanometres range which will obviously help me when I get to university.

What advice would you give to students thinking of applying for a Nuffield Research Placement?

Don’t hesitate: go for it, because there’s nothing hard or very difficult to do. You will get everything explained to you so that it’s easy to understand.  I would thoroughly recommend applying for a Nuffield Research Placement to anyone thinking about a career in STEM.