Fred Turner

Why did you apply for a Nuffield Research Placement?

I wanted to get some hands on experience working in a lab as I was thinking about a career in research and the Nuffield placement really helped me to decide that going into research is something I’m interested in doing. I also applied because it looks very good on your university application!

Was the work what you expected?

I didn’t expect to be able to dive right in at the deep end using all of the equipment in the lab within the first few weeks of the project and being able to work very independently on my project but this was definitely a good thing, I learnt so much!

What was your project about? Did you know much about the area before you started?

My project was investigating the role of genes called homeobox genes (specifically prx1) in scarless wound healing in Xenopus (African clawed frog) embryos. Xenopus embryos have the remarkable ability to grow back their tail, and even limbs after amputation and my project played a part in investigating the molecular mechanisms behind this healing with the ultimate aim in the lab being understanding the mechanisms enough to look at applications in healing in humans! All I knew about this before the project was what I’d learnt in AS biology but I knew nothing about working with Xenopus or Xenopus genetics.

Did you learn any new skills? Has this helped you with your university applications?

I learnt a lot about lab work and using all of the equipment found in a molecular biology/genetics lab and a lot of the skills I learnt have been vital for working in the lab that I built as my winning project at the National Science + Engineering Competition! My Nuffield project definitely helped my university application and I was asked about it at several interviews.

What are your future plans?

After finishing my A levels this year I will be starting at Oxford University in October, studying biochemistry. After that I’m not sure yet, I’d like to run a business related to biotechnology but I have the next 4 years to decide!

What was it like exhibiting at the Big Bang Fair?

Presenting at the Big Bang Fair and being a part of the National Science + Engineering Competition was an amazing experience, it was completely exhausting but I enjoyed every minute of it and it was one of the best weeks of my life! I met loads of great people and it’s created so many opportunities for me, I would absolutely encourage people to get involved in it!