Submitted by Delhi
My interest in Biochemistry is clearly reflected in both my academic and extracurricular choices. I find it fascinating when Biology and Chemistry overlap in topics covered in the classroom. When studying DNA, my understanding was enhanced as we studied its structure in Chemistry and function in Biology. It was intriguing learning that certain mutations in DNA can lead to a complete frame shift, while others may not affect the phenotype of an organism at all.
My EPQ explores what effect the innovative new technology of proton beam therapy would have on current cancer treatment programmes. By combining my knowledge of Biology and Physics I provided the theory behind the treatment as well as my analysis. I drew upon my understanding of ionisation, the detrimental effects on DNA and consequently cellular functions. This common knowledge is fundamental to cancer radiotherapies today. I read around the topic by finding relevant articles in journals such as the British Journal of Cancer and Nature. My analytical skills developed greatly when reviewing and citing the sources in my work as I began to sift through information more effectively and understand language in the abstracts.
As none of my relatives are involved in scientific careers, I took the initiative to contact a professor at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and organised a work experience placement during which I shadowed radiologists in angioplasty, x-ray, MRI and CT. One of the main highlights was observing live images of catheters inside blood vessels of the brain as we were able to link the actions of the surgeon to our biological knowledge, thereby enabling us to understand the situation in greater depth. For instance, when the implantation of a brain stent occurred we coupled my knowledge of the clotting process and thrombi to understand the reasoning behind the treatment. Making connections like these to processes on a cellular level is even more intriguing to me when involving chemistry.
My extracurricular achievements include Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver for which I volunteered for over two years with Girlguiding UK at the World Headquarters, completing their Young Leadership Qualification. From these awards I have learned skills of leadership, teamwork and communication which I believe are just as important in the scientific environment. I was also chosen as tutor group representative on the school council panel which involved decision making, relaying information and compiling honest opinions on school matters.
Throughout my education I have enjoyed working in the lab, applying my knowledge experientially. I was one of few girls studying multiple sciences who participated in the BBC’s ‘The Conversation’ podcast, at the Francis Crick Institute, named ‘Scientists at the Crick’. Our discussions about the experiences of women in science particularly inspired me to continue pursuing my career path despite the gender inequalities in this area; the women scientists are leaders in their fields of research and have ultimately helped pave the way for the next generation of scientists to make revolutionary/further discoveries. The two guests had initially not been taken seriously by male colleagues in their field and had to work twice as hard to prove themselves. Their perseverance inspired me as instead of remaining frustrated and giving up, they challenged themselves to do their best work. During university I hope to continue my extra-curricular activities as an outlet from the rigours of academic study. From literature to the Duke of Edinburgh award, I have found them extremely useful in developing a broad skill set. The field of Biochemistry is continuously advancing and the prospects of contributing to that are exciting, which is why I am certain it is the right degree for me.