I completed an MEng(Hons) in Biomedical Materials Science at the University of Manchester in 2014. In the year between finishing my undergraduate degree and starting the CDT TERM I worked for a company that manufacture controlled atmosphere cell culture workstations and distribute a number of specialist bioreactors for tissue engineering applications in a role that compromised sales and R&D.
What previous lab experience do you have?
During the third and fourth years of my undergraduate degree I completed two lab based dissertations. These projects allowed me to develop a number of skills: cell culture techniques in both 2D and 3D; experience in producing and using different scaffold materials such as hydrogels and drug loaded polymers; experience in cell based assays; using confocal microscopy and image processing software; materials characterization techniques.
What attracted you to the Centre for Doctoral Training in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine – Innovation in Medical and Biological Engineering
The structure of the program as it allows initial learning through lectures and ‘taster’ lab placements to help you make the best decision on the subject/area of your final research project, and phases you into full time research rather than diving straight in!
Briefly explain what your research is about and what you hope to find?
My project is based around spinal cord repair and has two main components. Firstly the fabrication of electrically conductive hydrogel cell scaffolds for use in repair of spinal cord injuries. Secondly is the use of a controlled atmosphere workstation, provided by CASE partner, to investigate the effects of extreme hypoxia on neural cells during secondary spinal cord injury, and the effects of physiologically relevant low oxygen concentrations on the behavior of stem cells with neurogenic potential.
What have you most enjoyed during your time on the CDT Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine – Innovation in Medical and Biological Engineering programme?
It has been great to have been able to experience such a wide range of topics, but the thing I’ve most enjoyed is probably the people – it’s been great having a cohort of 14 people in the same year of the same course rather than being a bit more out on your own like a ‘normal’ PhD.
What benefits do you feel you get from the interdisciplinary nature of the course?
Even if the knowledge isn’t that useful in the final research project, the interdisciplinary nature allows you to speak more confidently to people who have more in depth knowledge when collaboration is necessary. It also allows you to think in a number of different ways to solve a problem.