Lucy Bettinson visited our lab for the week. Here’s her story of what she did:
“Just a couple of days ago, as a year 11 student about to do their work experience, I had no idea what a cancer research team did as far as experiments or how they got their findings. But in just one week of work experience here at the Cancer Genetics Building I have learned so much, and everyone who I met was really lovely.
On my first day I was taken to the lab by Paul. I wore lab gloves and a lab coat for the first time and looked at cell culture. I found it really interesting how CD40L could made tumour cells divide and grow. After watching this for myself, I was then taken to see these cells being irradiated to slow the growth down. After lunch, I was taken on a Building introduction by a lady called Julia, who was really nice. Once this was done, I was taken by Paul to talk to James and then Ceri about their experiences as clinical fellows. They described their career and answered other questions I had. They were both really helpful and very nice.
My second day was with Beth, who was really lovely and made me tea. I looked at tissue culture with her and got to see real live cells under the microscope for the first time. Beth also showed me a tiny machine which replicated blood capillaries. After lunch I was with Ryan who was nice also. He showed me blood sample processing which involved separating white blood cells from red, taken from patients some hours earlier.
On Wednesday, I was with Sophie, doing western blotting, who was really kind and nice. She even printed out a sheet to help me understand it more. I was taught how to use a pipette by Sophie and she let me use the pipette skills I’d learned in the her western blotting experiment! Paul then organised for me to go to a careers talk, with a woman called Menai Evans. She was friendly and told me very good information in pursuing a medical career, for which I am thankful. After that I did some more Western Blotting with Sophie and she kindly took me to see the mass spectrometer and the microarray machine, which looks at RNA integrity. I was told by Megan, who was really lovely, how important it is to have good quality samples, in the Henry Welcome Building. Rosária and Sophie also showed me their cool posters which had won a competition.
On Thursday, I was with Sophie again, and she showed me FlowJo software for analysing phenotypic data. Rosária showed me some pictures she had taken when tagging cells with fluorescent peptides. Sophie next took me to the genetic analyser in the Barri Building and I met Keith and Barry. Keith talked me through DNA and how specialised treatments will be available in the near future. Keith also explained how the genetic analyser works. When I got back to the building after lunch, Paul took me to a seminar called “LATS, FATS and CATS.” The woman who spoke was Professor Marian Ludgate who has been recently been awarded a Chair. After the seminar, Paul took me to see Professor Chris Fegan, a Clinical Haematologist. I sat in the clinic, observing while cancer patients came in for their check up. This was interesting but a bit sad as some of the patients’ cancer were getting worse.
Friday today and I’m doing lots more. Overall I feel this visit has really benefited me, as it’s reaffirmed that I want a career in Medicine. I’m really thankful for being able to do work experience here, and want to just say a thank you to everyone I’ve met in this week.