What our students say
What our students say
Here are some thoughts from previous masters students:
“What does it take to excel in cancer research?
The first time I asked myself this question was when I read through the description of a research project on Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) offered by Dr. David Vetrie and Dr. Mary Scott. The aim of the project is to target the PRC2 complex in patients with CML in order to specifically kill cancer cells that would otherwise cause relapse after treatment with currently used drugs. With this aim the project represents the cutting edge of cancer research and I was more than thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to contribute to this.
But although I had worked for the tissue engineering research group of Professor C. Werner for three years, I was worried I might have a hard time working in a completely different research area. Especially since most of the methods I would use -cloning, qPCR, westernblotting, FACS, tissue culture, lentiviral transfection- were things I had never done before. However, it quickly became obvious, that there was no reason to worry. In the friendly research lab at the Paul O’Gorman there is always someone to help out with competent advice or patience while demonstrating a new method. Soon I was able to work rather independently, while I would always have the opportunity to discuss results and further steps with my supervisors. As an experienced Research Associate and valued member of Professor Holoyake’s research group especially Dr Mary Scott was always able to help me with practical problems. Therefore I found my work both challenging and achievable.
However of course I also experienced setbacks, both in my research and my personal life. In this regard I found it comforting and reassuring to always be able to talk to my supervisors about problems. Both were very understanding and offered help and a sympathetic ear and I didn’t fear to mess up my work while grieving over the loss of a dear family member. Additionally I repeatedly presented my results, which were viewed with constructive criticism and praise. So I always felt like I made an appreciated and valuable contribution.”
As a conclusion I think it takes motivation, persistence and ambition to excel in cancer research and in a brilliant research group like this, one might do just that.
“Tribbles are a diverse family of kinase-like proteins and have been characterized as important regulators of signal processing systems. Trib2 is expressed throughout haematopoietic development whereas dysregulated expression of Trib2 can lead to acute leukaemia (AML). It has been recently shown that Trib2 acts as an oncogene by down-regulating CCAAT enhancer-binding protein a (C/EBPalpha) resulting in acute myeloid leukaemia.
The aim of my current project in Dr. Karen Keeshan’s lab at the Paul O’Gorman Leukaemia Research Centre is to determine the requirement for Trib2 in oncogene specific-driven AML. To investigate this, a broad range of techniques were used. I have performed primary murine bone marrow cell isolations and stem cell enrichments using MACS bead purifications and FACS sorting. I carried out retroviral transduction of the haematopoietic cells to express the oncogene of interest. Following transduction, I performed colony forming cell assays that measures the self-renewal and differentiation potential of the haematopoietic stem cells. Using flow cytometry the differentiation status of the cells was assessed by cell surface marker expression measurements. To determine changes in gene expression, I have isolated RNA from freshly transduced bone marrow cells, cDNA synthesized and qRT-PCR was performed to quantify mRNA levels.
During my project I worked closely with a postdoctoral researcher and a PhD student who helped demonstrate the techniques and assisted me with the analysis of the results, in addition to the guidance and input offered by Dr. Keeshan. I also took part in weekly lab meeting presentations where I was able to discuss my results with the lab, set specific targets and review progress.
It is a very vibrant environment that offers a highly focused and disciplined approach to research while providing a platform of constant exchange of ideas through frequent and guided interaction among the members of the research group and Dr. Keeshan. Despite being the junior researcher of an established group I was made to feel welcomed and valued straight away with Dr Keeshan being always approachable for advice. My overall experience in Dr. Keeshan’s lab has motivated me to further my knowledge in the field of blood cancer.”
“I am a postgraduate student in Biomedical sciences(MRes) in University of Glasgow. I did my project in breast cancer lab for almost 18 weeks. Under the guidance of my supervisor Dr.Stein, I learned how to do 3D cell culture, migration assays and immunofluorescence which I have not done before. People here are quite nice, the postdoctoral research assistant and the PhD student in the lab always help me with my experiments. During my research in the lab, I learned not only useful techniques, but also how to analyse the data. I will miss the days working in the lab, and am very happy to recommend this lab to you. You would benefit a lot from the experience, if you have a chance to work here.”
“Since I have always been interested in translational research that brings bench to bedside I decided to undertake a Masters programme in Molecular Medicine at the University of Glasgow that is focusing on the better understanding of molecular basis of human diseases like cancer. In a one-year span, I got to work on two* short but extensive research projects ranging from molecular haemopoiesis group to gene regulation. My research work in the latter project was part of a publication; I also got to attend a couple of international research conferences. These research experiences have made me become an independent researcher who can flexibly work within a research group and has developed me as a critical thinker with a high resilience who can design and analyse sophisticated experimental procedures. The skills learnt through this programme is helping me immensely in my current PhD program in a competitive environment in Singapore.”
“An MRes in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Glasgow really helped bridge the gap between my education in India and doing a PhD in UK. In contrast to reading outdated books back home, I came to realise the importance of not only keeping up to date with your research field through reading articles but also developing a critical view of any research you come across. This has really helped me through my PhD in planning my experiments and making sure to keep the right controls and analyse the results in an unbiased manner. Also, having undertaken two* research projects during the latter part of my studies helped me get a good foundation in research techniques as well as good lab practices. Moving away from home to research abroad is a daunting task but I feel that a masters course made me feel more at ease when starting on a research path in academia."
For me, taking part in the Molecular Medicine MRes course was an invaluable experience. I was interested in a career in scientific research but unsure if a PhD was for me. I was also lacking confidence in my practical abilities in the lab. However, almost immediately after starting this course I felt myself becoming increasingly confident in both the lab environment and my own practical ability. The opportunity to complete two projects in different labs is, in my opinion, one of the greatest strengths of this course as it allows students to gain experience of another working environment and many more experimental techniques than would be possible in a single project masters.
After completing my honours degree in Toronto, I sought out an international Masters program from a leading UK university that would allow me to specialize in Cancer Research. The MRes in Molecular Medicine here at the University of Glasgow seemed to offer just this, but I soon realised that it offered far more than I had ever expected. I was immediately impressed with the high quality of the program, reputable faculty and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. I was given the opportunity to become a vital part of two research teams where I conducted my own projects led by the group’s leader and supervised by post-doctoral fellows.
More than anything, it was the supervisors’ excitement about their relative fields that led me to desire to build an expanding knowledge and understanding of cancer, and hopefully help identify future treatments of a disease that affects so many.
* Note that the new MSc will only have one research project, not two.