Amanda Brammer - What our students say - University of Derby

Amanda Brammer, BSc (Hons) Human Biology

Where did you go for your work placement and what were the reasons behind your choice?

The University of Derby human health teaching team offered internships to students on a competitive basis between second and third year. As I wanted to complete a placement that would be relevant to my chosen career path, I was delighted to be given the opportunity to undertake a project developing an ovarian cancer tissue microarray (TMA) for use in the discovery of disease biomarkers. The project was led by Dr Heidi Sowter, Reader in Oncology at the University of Derby.

What did you get involved with while you were there?

The laboratory element of the internship took place at the University of Derby, where I was responsible for creating ovarian cancer histology slides. This involved training in the use of the rotary microtome to enable the tissue blocks to be cut into sections and mounted on microscopy slides, followed by the process of H & E Staining. This project was also part of the University of Derby Undergraduate Research Scheme (URSS), which involved the creation an academic poster to be presented at the Annual Learning and Teaching Conference.

How has your work placement helped with your studies?

Completion of this internship generated my interest in ovarian cancer further, leading me to focus on this area in my final year Oncology and Immunology module. The practical aspect of the placement was a valuable experience, helping to increase my confidence levels in laboratory sessions. Undertaking this placement also confirmed my decision to pursue a career in the field of gynaecology research.

What was your favourite part of your work placement experience?

All of the elements of this placement were enjoyable and valuable, so it is really hard to choose a favourite part. I am particularly grateful that I was given the opportunity to learn laboratory techniques not usually offered to undergraduate students, and the experience of presenting in a conference environment.  

What would you say to anyone interested in doing a work placement as part of their course?

Whether you have the opportunity to undertake a short placement or a year-long internship, I would highly recommend the experience to all students. Not only do you learn valuable practical skills, but you learn things about yourself. It is also a great opportunity to confirm your career intentions, and to focus your choice of postgraduate study.