University of Bath August Placements

Becky Mead updates us about the varied and exciting range of placements taking place at the University of Bath

Another fantastic mixture of placements @UniofBath this month! First, the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology @PharmUnivBath. Our in2scienceUK student has been busy working alongside Dr Chris Bailey’s PhD students, investigating neuronal changes caused by drugs of abuse, and how they relate to drug tolerance and addiction. During my visit she was working with PhD student @AnnelisaSadler and preparing her first gel electrophoresis (see photo below). She has really enjoyed all aspects of the practical work and has a clearer idea about what degree she would like to study.

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Next, the Department of Biology and Biochemistry where two students have been working with Dr Momna Hedjmadi. Both students have completed practical work with Momna into the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs and have also worked with MSc student Grace, who investigates behaviour and genetic changes in the worm C. elegans (seen with the microscope in the photo below). Both students have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, especially the practical lab work, and don’t want to leave!

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On to the Department of Chemistry where one student has been working in the group of Professor Aron Walsh @lonepair alongside Dr Keith Butler and other post docs and PhD students. Based mainly in a theoretical chemistry lab, out student has been learning to code and create scripts which search through the periodic table for possible new materials (see photo below). He has also been able to visit an organic chemistry lab. The lab have been incredibly welcoming and have helped our student to focus on which degree he wants to apply for and he is really grateful to all the researchers who have spoken to him about their degrees and shared their advice.

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Staying in the Department of Chemistry, I visited Dr Judith Brown and her in2scienceUK student, who is hoping to study Dentistry. One of Judith’s current research themes is culturing biofilms to examine the effect of ultrasonic cavitation on plaque so this was a really interesting project for our student to be part of. He has been able to visit a Biochemistry lab and has learnt a number of lab techniques during his two weeks at Bath.

Finally, back to the Department of Biology and Biochemistry for our final two placements. Dr Stephanie Diezmann @diezmannlab has provided a fascinating project involving research into the yeast Candida albicans and the Manduca caterpillar. Our in2scienceUK student has been able to work alongside different researchers and complete lots of lab work and use techniques such as PCR. Stephanie arranged an interesting Q&A session for our student () and also for our student to meet with the department admissions tutor, both of which proved really helpful. Thank you to everyone in Stephanie’s lab for such an inspiring placement!

Last but certainly not least, Dr Daniel Henk and his lab hosted a placement looking into different aspects of fungal ecology and evolution. Our student has been directly involved in Dan’s research and has completed fieldwork collecting diseased fruit from which he has then isolated the disease-causing yeast Botrytis. This data will help Dan and his group to understand more about the ecology and genetics of this yeast and its biocontrol. Our student has spent a lot of time in the lab and has learnt many new techniques such as PCR and used equipment new to him, including pipettes. Talks with Dan and other lab members have helped him to think about his which degree to study at university and have inspired him work hard during his A Level studies in the forthcoming year.

This summer’s placements have been a huge success, thanks mainly to the incredible support and dedication from our supervisors and their groups, and also due to the enthusiasm and commitment of out students. Thank you again to everyone who has been involved this year! I look forward to seeing you all at our Celebration Evening next month.

By Becky Mead, in2scienceUK Bath Coordinator