One can never have enough knowledge. One of my biggest dreams is to discover as much as possible in the biomedical science field, but for that, just a BSc degree is not enough.
One of things attracting me to UCL is the lack of stereotypes. In my home country, in a number of science faculties there is a belief that “girls can’t do science”, while UCL stands up for the equality – allowing every student to take a subject which deeply interests them without any prejudice. To me, biological science, biomedical field in particular, was more attractive than any other areas. Human body is one of the most unique organisms on our planet, most advanced form of life.
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There will always be room for new discoveries, as so much is yet to be understood. Despite all the modern technology, advanced research techniques applied for analysis, a lot about the human body is unknown like the reasons beyond liver’s magnificent capability to regenerate or the uniqueness of the fingerprints. Especially with Biomedicine, which allows to investigate deeply into the functions of cells and their activity under different conditions. “Why?” has always been my favourite question, especially in the context of biological processes and the idea of having the exact understanding of human physiology always attracted me. I have always had an interest in cancer research.
Loss of my father to leukaemia triggered my interest, which was promoted by the book The Emperor of All Maladies. In my final year, I took “Biology of Cancer” module to have a deeper understanding of the subject. The module provided an overview of the nature and causes of cancer from an epidemiological, cellular and molecular perspective. One of my favourite topics was lectures on metastasis: the ability of cancer to spread to any part of the body.
During the lectures, I learned the process of the metastatic spread in detail on the molecular level. I was particularly interested in the way non-cancer cell in the tumour microenvironment contribute to the development of metastasis, for example cancer-associated fibroblasts secreting TGFb to promote the spread of metastasis or tumour-associated macrophages secreting cytokines to promote metastatic invasion in the surrounding tissues. I want to study MSc Biomedical Science at UCL for a few reasons. First of all, the modules appeal to me, especially the Cancer and Personalised Medicine and the Neurodegenerative disorders. I explained my interest in cancer previously, however, with neurodegenerative disorders, there is still a long way to go in terms of developing more effecting treatments. A recent paper by Kim et.al (2017) suggest that inhibition of basal ganglia neurons stimulates excitatory motor signals in the thalamus thus promoting motor abnormalities, like those in Parkinson’s disease.
In my second year, I wrote an essay on Parkinson’s disease and apoptosis and received a 75% mark. The ability to do a dissertation, will allow me to explore a field of science, which I find interesting and make an original contribution to the research. I enjoyed doing my dissertation on the pathogenesis and treatment of pulmonary hypertension in the final year of my BSc, concentrating on pulmonary arterial hypertension. The essay gave an overview on the causes and risk-factors of the disease along with current and future therapies.
I have a bit of experience in the research field: in second year, I have taken “Research Skills in Immunology” module. The module gave an insight of the strategies and techniques applied in the research labs. The most interesting aspect of the module was a lab project performed on immunosuppressive drugs, where a “new drug” efficiency was compared that of tacrolimus.
I have no doubt that I would be able to meet the high demands of the programme. I left my home country at the age of 17 to start a degree in the UK, in a foreign language. Being far from home was not easy at such a young age, but it was rewarding in a lot of ways. I did a Science Foundation programme, which allowed me to continue my studies in the UK.
Doing a degree, especially in science, in my non-native language was challenging, but I have learned a lot from this experience and I believe that my passion and hard work will allow me to continue my studies at the MSc level. One of my biggest achievements this far, was getting a paid internship in the Institute of Cancer Research. I was involved in analysing the patient data from different trials.
I worked on PROMPTS and PACE A and PACE B trials. The PACE trial compared stereotactic body radiotherapy and conventional radiotherapy for the treatment of prostate cancer. PROMPTS trial also involved prostate cancer. It investigated if pre-emptive treatment and detection of radiological spinal cord compression could reduce the later in patients with spinal metastasis. I learned how to be a part of the team undertaking statistical analysis for large research trials, gained confidence in my communication skills. I enjoyed being financially independent from my family. Biomedical science is not my sole interest.
I am very passionate about world cultures, especially Japanese. To me, this country, with its long history and traditions, always seemed very attractive. I am currently taking Japanese language classes, hoping that one day I will be able to pay a visit to Japan and apply my knowledge.