Liam Roberts, from St Brigid’s College in Derry, Northern Ireland, spent his summer working with Dr Clare Ryan and Dr Stephen McGovern at the University of Ulster. Liam worked in the Neuroscience and Neurodegeneration Research Group, working primarily on the neurological effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and a possible treatment which could slow down the progression of the disease.
Why did you apply for the placement?
I’m really enthusiastic about science, all areas, chemistry, physics and biology. When I heard information about the placement and researched Nuffield foundation, I found it really fascinating. The science projects that were carried out in previous years and the upcoming years, came across as truly important research needed in the world today. Thinking that I could get a chance to work alongside scientists and their research projects, would make me feel very privileged. I also thought that if I were to be involved in the placement, this would give me a great insight in the different science sectors, which would influence me in the right pathway to a career or course. The Nuffield placement would also give me more experience using scientific equipment and methods, this would be a great advantage when it came to my final year in my A-level applied science.
Did you expect to be successful in your application?
I was very apprehensive about obtaining a place on the Nuffield placement, I thought the chances of getting a place was very slim, but after the Application process and interview stage, I was very shocked and surprised that I obtained a place, the emotion of surprise quickly turned to an over whelming sense of happiness!
How did you feel on the first day of your placement?
On the first day, I felt excited and ready to work. I felt some nerves but they gradually passed, I was really happy that I was working in the neurology research department.
What did you learn from your placement?
I learned a lot about the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on the brain. I learned about the different parts of the brain and their function. I was very fascinated with the different protocols I had to follow, when I was working with the machinery in the lab.
What do you want to do next?
I hope to further my education and to attend University, I’m still keeping my options open, when it comes to applying for courses, but I’m thinking of physiotherapy, biomedical science, or molecular biology.
What advice would you give to others like you thinking of taking part in a summer research placement?
I would say, if any opportunities arise like the Nuffield project, grab them with both hands!! Doing a placement over the summer opens a lot of doors to other opportunities; you also make new friends and build on qualities and skills you may have, such as communication and confidence. I’m very glad I got involved in the Nuffield placement, I hope to have many more opportunities in future like the one I did during the month of July.