Biology placement at Plymouth University | Case study

By Nuffield Foundation

Rachael’s Gump’s placement at Plymouth University Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry


Nuffield Research Placement student, 2017
Plymouth University
Peripheral Nervous System repair mechanisms.
Big Bang Competition runner up 2018


What was your project about?

I studied the Peripheral Nervous System repair mechanisms, and how differing levels of proteins allowed for variations in the efficiency of repair, using mice to model this. 

What was the highlight of your placement?

The independence in the lab, which allowed to ask questions and work at my own pace, as well as learn from mistakes in a professional environment. I didn’t want it to end!

My NRP was really a life changing experience. Being new to the country, I was very hesitant, but the rewards from it have been well worth taking time out of the summer break!” Rachael Gump

What are your future plans?

I’m still at Callington College, and hope to move on to study Neuroscience at the University of Aberdeen this year. I decided to keep up with the research that I did, and enter it into the Big Bang Competition. I placed as a runner up in 2018, and am currently still reaping the benefits from this experience. It has unlocked many doors for me, by way of events and conferences I have been invited to and hope to attend in the coming months. My NRP helped me to see my potential, and begin to recognise what opportunities lay on the horizon if I could trust in myself as the NRP had taught me.

What advice would you give to future Nuffield research placement students?

Really dive head first into your placement, do the reading around your subject, and take plenty of notes! The subject material comes thick and fast, so be prepared but not scared because you’ll be surprised at what you can pick up easily.

What advice would you give to young people thinking about a career in STEM?

Take every opportunity you get to explore your options, even if you’re not sure yet. STEM is all about investigations, so taking an investigative approach to your own interests will show you whether or not STEM is right for you, because there are so many streams you could go down.

Back to top ^

By Nuffield Foundation

Explore our projects

Search projects

We improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We offer our grant-holders the freedom to frame questions and enable new thinking. Our research must stand up to rigorous academic scrutiny, but we understand that to be successful in effecting change, it also needs to be relevant to people’s experience.