When I first found out I had a placement at AstraZeneca (AZ), I thought I had a pretty good idea of what my days would be – hours and hours working in the lab, writing up experiments and poring over graphs. Maybe, I thought, I can improve my communication skills by presenting data to my team. But even with the unexpected shakeup of lockdown and coronavirus, I didn’t realise just how oversimplified my idea of a lab-based placement was.
I am a fan of lab work, but anyone who knows me well can tell you that one of my favourite pastimes is admin. I have no shame in admitting that I’m the person who finds joy in organising an inbox, or drawing up spreadsheets to track a team’s progress through a big task. It’s a strange hobby, but it’s satisfying, and so when I saw adverts to recruit a new AZ early talent committee, I could hardly not apply for the role of secretary. I had no professional secretarial experience, but it sounded so me!
Working with poo turned out to be exactly the summer experience I wanted!
I worked at the national Cryptosporidium Reference Unit (CRU) at Public Health Wales in Swansea with Professor Rachel Chalmers and her team. I received a Scholarship from the Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) for this placement, writing the application together with Rachel.
Cryptosporidium is a parasite that causes diarrhoea, is found globally
and is typically passed from animals, other people, food and fresh water
sources. It is currently a human health issue due to the significant effect it
has in developing countries and the lack of specific treatments to fight the
parasite. Quite often how well you recover from the illness depends on how
healthy you were to begin with!
I look at the screen and smile. After an intensive six-hour lab session involving lots of careful pipetting, I’m ecstatic that the experiment I’ve spent weeks on has succeeded at last.
At the moment, I’m based in a biology research unit at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies on the planet. I’ve been on placement here for over nine months; I still can’t quite believe it some days.
Want to make yourself more employable? Well, we are here to help!
As employability ambassadors, we are keen to assist School of Biomedical Sciences students like you in their career development and to help prepare you for life after university. Whether you want advice on placements, work experience, mentoring or just need some guidance on how to structure your CV, please let us know.
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John Cornilius was appointed as the School of Biomedical Sciences first ever Student Enterprise Ambassador earlier this year. Through a series of blog posts, his youtube channel and his LinkedIn profile, John aims to share reflections on his own enterprise journey. Follow along by clicking the #EntrepreneurshipDiary tag or the link in the sidebar.
Background Story Part #1
As my LinkedIn profile indicates, I recently started a role at my university as a Student Enterprise Ambassador. In this video I give an introduction to what this role means for me and you, as well as my motivation for applying. I will be creating some content regularly and posting that up as my business idea progresses from seed to idea to product.
Take care and leave me your feedback in the comments 🙂
December saw our Summer placement poster presentation event with research presented from across the Faculty of Medical Sciences.
First of all, let me thank all of you who presented/provided posters for the event, it was fantastic to see your hard work up on those poster boards in our swanky new lab! Secondly, I’d like to thank all of you who attended, asked questions and engaged with the event (not just for the mince pies). Finally I’d like to thank our judges who did a sterling job deciding our prize winners! Continue reading “Summer Placement Poster Presentation Event 2018”
By Sam Murray – 3rd Year Biomedical Sciences student
Vacation Research Project
During the summer I worked alongside scientists in the Institute of Cellular Medicine in Newcastle University to complete a 8-week research project in Complement Immunology, and was paid £200 a week to do so! I produced a poster to communicate my research and defended it at the university wide Celebrating Research Scholarships & Expeditions presentation evening. I was awarded a Commendation for oral defence of the poster and also won 3rd prize at the School of Biomedical Sciences Summer placement poster presentations. Continue reading “My summer research really ‘complemented’ my degree”
With a tough season ahead, Newcastle University Rugby Union Performance Squad enlisted the help of staff and students from Sport and Exercise Science to perform physiological testing to inform the squads training and preparation. Seven second year Sport and Exercise Science students lead the physiological testing of the squad in collaboration with academic staff, technical staff and the Squad’s strength and conditioning coach. It was a real team effort to ensure the day ran smoothly and that all athletes put in their best efforts.Continue reading “Becoming Sport & Exercise Scientists”