Case study

Internship takes Monica closer to her cancer research goal

A research internship looking at ovarian cancer helped our graduate student, Monica Erdos, take a big step towards meeting her career goal of working in cancer research.

Great motivation

Human Biology graduate, Monica dreamed of working in cancer research. To gain additional laboratory skills, she took an internship helping PhD student Will Luderman with his research into the effects of certain medications - in this case, calcium ion blockers - on the development of ovarian cancer cells.

“Cancer research has been my career goal for many years,” explained Monica. “This project was perfect to gain the laboratory skills I would need. It also motivated me to work my hardest in this and any postgraduate degrees to reach my goal, as I enjoyed my time in the laboratory thoroughly.”

Monica discovered that scientific research often requires persistence and determination: “It’s about repeating protocols, as more often than not they don’t turn out as planned. Will and I attempted many Western Blots, a technique used to detect the presence of certain proteins in samples. My favourite moment in the internship was when we finally got a good, clear blot that we could use after many days of troubleshooting.”

Monica Erdos, Human Biology student

Perfecting skills

As well as the longer term career advantages of the internship, Monica knew that it will also benefit her in her final year of undergraduate study: “The techniques I assisted Will with in the lab are very similar to those I used for my own Independent Study project in my final year. I learned new skills and perfected existing ones and feel I am a lot more competent in the lab now.”

Monica’s advice to anyone starting their own research is to be prepared to learn from unsuccessful attempts: “In science we learn more from abnormalities than from perfect results. Use the data to perfect the next attempt – don’t let it dishearten or discourage you from your goals.”

Students learning with a skeleton

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