César Fernández

'I already had an idea that I wanted to pursue a career in the life-sciences, but this placement made me more confident in my abilities and confirmed my choice.'

Why did you apply for a Nuffield Research Placement?

I saw it as a great opportunity to increase my confidence in the laboratory and gain experience in basic techniques and skills that are key in biochemical research. This would make me more prepared for university.

What was your project about and did you know anything about the area before getting started?

The goal of my project was to investigate the feasibility of delivering the antimalarial drug Primaquine transdermally employing hydrogel-forming microneedles. I met with my supervisor everyday to discuss my findings and receive guidance on what experiments to carry out next.

Did you gain any new skills, both scientific and general work skills, from undertaking your placement?

I learned how to: make dilutions of various concentrations through serial dilutions, make a calibration curve, measure ultraviolet absorbance of a drug sample and more. These are basic skills that are necessary for biomedical research. This experience also enabled me to work independently. I had to fix the errors I made during the experiments, and this taught me the importance of perseverance and critical thinking. I also had to carry out different experiments simultaneously, which helped me improve my time management skills and forced me to work efficiently and diligently.

What are your future plans?

My goal is applying to the Natural Sciences course at Cambridge University. I would love to pursue a post-graduate programme in academic research.

Would you recommend the programme to other students? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend the programme. It is a great opportunity to increase your confidence in the laboratory and gain experience in basic techniques and skills that are key in research. It will also provide a boost to your UCAS application.