Niall Briggs

How did you get involved in the Nuffield Research Placements Programme and why did you want to take part in the programme?

There were two Nuffield Research Placements on offer through my college and when I saw that it would involve working with a professor of Immunology for 6 weeks at the University of Manchester on a current research project I jumped at the chance!

What were the aims of your project, and how did you go about achieving these?

My project involved investigating goblet cell biology during Trichuris muris (a parasitic nematode) infection. T. muris is used as a mouse model for the human nematode Trichuris trichiura as both nematodes cause similar intestinal inflammations in their respective hosts. 

What are your longer term plans and how did your placement experience affect these plans?

I have an offer from Durham University to study Natural Sciences, which I am very delighted about! My placement experience has convinced me that I want to go into research when I finish my degree, but I have not decided which area of science yet.

What was it like exhibiting at the Big Bang? How does it feel to be one of the Top 5 UK Young Scientists of 2012 in the Science & Maths category?

It was incredible! I met a great number of young scientists like me who I have kept in touch with and were great to be around during the fair. I was one of the lucky ten competitors who were shortlisted for celebrity judging, which was a very surreal experience. It is not every day that you are interviewed by two O.B.Es/television presenters, a top 10 scientist and a Nobel Prize winner! It still has not sunk in yet. I would recommend that anyone with an interest in science attends the Big Bang Fair... you will not be disappointed!