Submitted by Rovena
Working alongside Dr. Sergio Bertazzo at UCL on the 'formation of biominerals' is what sparked my interest in Biochemistry. We used Raman Spectroscopy to gain information on hard material formed in the body due to an underlying pathology. I found it amazing that a technique that was just a concept in the classroom was brought to life and is put to remarkable use on a day-to-day basis. We explored calcium deposits in breast cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and analysed samples from a range of other diseases in order to gain fundamental data on the formation of the biominerals.
Being a STEM ambassador encouraged me to explore the overlap between my A level subjects: Biology and Chemistry. I was particularly fascinated by the chemical mechanisms for the reactions of proteins given that they form the basis of every single metabolic function in the body. From attending 'The Great Ideas Of Biology' lecture at Imperial College London, I realised that one of the most fundamental ideas related to Biology is 'Life as Chemistry'. Chemistry forms the basis for understanding many biological ideas. For me, the revelation that Chemistry is so pertinent, even in the study of Biology, made me further appreciate the overlap between the sciences and the role they have played in our understanding of the world.
Over summer I completed a work placement with the Mayor of London. As part of this experience, I was given the opportunity to write articles for the Mayor, conduct my own research and analyse demographic data. I also had the opportunity to sit in on meetings such as that with MedCity, where the discussion was centred around developmental plans and investment in research. This experience was useful in developing my understanding of the limitations to scientific research due to the financial constraints businesses face. Despite this, my passion for Biochemistry remains undiminished.
When reading an article in The Biochemist titled '3D- printed synthetic tissues', by Michael Booth and Hagan Bayley I was intrigued by the way 3D printing is being used to create synthetic tissues following specified patterns using water droplets. I realised that all scientific projects face many issues before completion, but through perseverance and creative application of knowledge, solutions can be found. In a similar sense, Booth and Bayley creatively discovered that by externally controlling the synthetic tissue, using light and a combined water droplet network with the LA-DNA, light-activated synthetic tissues could be produced.
As Head Girl, I have many responsibilities: I am the main point of contact between my sixth form peers and the senior management team at school; I lead the senior prefects and ensure they are aware of their obligations; and I also communicate with parents on a regular basis in order to address their concerns. These duties have allowed me to develop transferable skills such as teamwork, time management and communicating professionally. In addition, I regularly volunteer with a local homeless shelter, which motivated me to join the NCS Youth Board, where I worked with other young adults to raise awareness on the issues of youth homelessness. Being involved with this project encouraged me to prioritise my time in order to meet my academic deadlines, as well as integrate with people from different walks of life.
To conclude, I feel that much of the work that a biochemist does is to advance human life and the thought of helping people is what drives me to want to study biochemistry. I like the fact that this field is unpredictable. It is constantly developing and to be at the centre of some cutting-edge research and new innovations excites me. This was further summed up for me during a conversation with the Deputy Mayor. He told me that, "we are currently part of the 'transition generation,' where we always need to be open to what is out there that will be beneficial to the development of the world."