An update from Bath

In2scienceUK is not just in London, we also have students placed at the University of Bath.  Becky Mead tells us more….

I have been lucky enough to visit five fascinating placements at the University of Bath during July. First, the Department of Biology and Biochemistry to meet two budding young scientists on placement with @TheLeakLab and @LisaBuddrus, learning about renewable energy using microbial metabolic engineering, including the bacteria Geobacillus. Both students have benefitted from working with different PhD students and post docs from the lab, and have been able to use various techniques such as HPLC. Supervisor Shyam described both the placement students as ” very enthusiastic young minds” and is pleased to be part of their development. Both students are grateful to have gained such interesting lab experience and advice about applying to university.

Staying in Biology and Biochemistry, next stop was the lab of Professor David Tosh. Here our in2scienceUK student has been working independently to grow stem cells into heart, liver and oesophagus cells. It was incredible to see beating heart cells through the microscope (see photo). This placement has provided our student with the opportunity to develop her dissection and microscopy skills. She has been inspired by the PhD students she has worked alongside and she has particularly appreciated advice on which courses to apply for at university.

Heart Cells

Onto the Department of Chemical Engineering and @ChuckGroup. Our in2scienceUK student has worked with a variety of researchers and during my visit was using waste from coffee to produce a sustainable fuel source. Working alongside PhD student Jon, our student has been trialling a new technique that involves recreating the process of oil production by applying heat and pressure. Our student has appreciated speaking to members of the department and finding out about their career progress and different options within Chemistry and related subjects.

Finally, onto the Department of Chemistry and the lab of Professor Chris Frost. Working alongside Dr Barrie Marsh and PhD students, our student has learnt a variety of techniques such as PCR, TLC and distillation and been able to use these newly acquired skills in practical applications. The main focus of his work has been biosensing and catalysis. He has valued learning about the different degrees the lab members have studied, particularly degrees involving a year working abroad on placements, and this has helped him to focus on which Chemistry degree and university he would like to study at. In an email he summed up his placement as “going superbly and has definitely exceeded my expectations by miles […] I guess its due to the friendly welcome I received on the first day from Dr Barrie Marsh, the PhD students and the group as a whole, and the amount of support the whole group has given me every day […] Can’t thank you enough for this opportunity […] The genuine indulgent kindness I have received has made me believe that I am capable to go to University and has given me the edge to work even harder for my A2s , so that I will be able to study at The University of Bath.”

Truly inspiring experiences! I’m looking forward to visiting more placements over the forthcoming weeks and cannot thank the labs that are hosting in2scienceUK students enough for all their effort and enthusiasm.

By Becky Mead, in2scienceUK Bath Coordinator