What is your current role?
I am a 2nd year PhD student in the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham.
My research focusses on the effect of e-cigarettes on neutrophils, an important immune cell of the lung. I work in university labs in the Queen Elizabeth hospital. The cells that I work on are isolated by me from blood donations of healthy volunteers who work in the labs and around the hospital. I expose these cells to e-cigarette vapour and run functional assays and tests of viability in order to piece together any behavioural changes in neutrophils in response to e-cigarettes. Neutrophil dysfunctions have been linked to the pathophysiology of a number of diseases including COPD and sepsis, and therefore can help us to predict long term health implications of e-cigarettes. I really enjoy this dynamic, topical and exciting area of scientific research.
PhD life involves a lot more than just lab work, reading and writing. Other activities involve training new members of the groups, attending conferences, presenting work to other professionals or the public and working in other labs to gain practical skills and training. Depending on the research project, other PhD students also get hands on experience meeting and recruiting patients to their study. I really enjoy the variety of work associated with completing a PhD and the self-management of completing my own project.
How has your Biomedical Science degree helped you in your current role?
Biomedical Science gave me a great foundation of scientific knowledge and training in order to take my research further to PhD level.