I did my placement year at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia, where I worked on my own research project within the immunology department. My supervisor introduced the project to me, including the research aims and certain techniques that the lab used, but it was ultimately down to me to carry out the experiments, feedback results and help determine where the project should go next.
I got to experience a range of new research techniques including flow cytometry, histology and intravital microscopy, which have been challenging at times, but extremely rewarding.
Learning new skills
I learnt more skills in the first few months of my placement than my entire degree so far. There's just some things that university can't teach you. It's not until I was in a working research environment and experienced what it's like, that I appreciated what the scientific community is all about.
I'm going to be taking away so many skills from the placement year, not only from a technical point of view, but skills including teamwork and collaboration, communication and problem solving, all of which will be useful back at university and after.
The best bit of my placement was gradually being able to work independently and confidently in a highly respected and professional research environment. I also really enjoyed the atmosphere at The Garvan; everyone was extremely friendly and willing to help out, and there were multiple work socials, lunches and lab days out.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my placement year and it has inspired me to pursue a career in science. I'm hoping to come back to The Garvan to do my PhD, my supervisor said he'd like me back!