Biology Personal Statement
Submitted by Rob
To me biology is everywhere, we can discuss protein synthesis or DNA replication and it is fascinating to visualise that it is happening inside of me. Virtually everything we examine happens within or surrounding an organism; therefore, I strive for a deeper understanding in the way organisms work, different biological processes and how we have evolved. Continuing my studies at university will give me the opportunity to gain that deeper understanding. To further my interest, I attended Professor Cobb’s lecture on “The race to understand the structure of DNA”. This taught me how scientific study can be competitive, helping to quicken the pace of research and improve outcomes. Therefore, understanding the structure of DNA was reduced from decades to years. This led me to read “The Epigenetic Revolution” by Nessa Carey. I was particularly drawn to two chapters; “Why aren’t identical twins actually identical?” and “Battle of the sexes”. I was intrigued that identical twins are different because epigenetics causes differently regulated genes. Equally, the way two genders differentiate is my favourite discussion point in psychology classes where we have examined different approaches to explaining gender development. I found “The Infinite Monkey Cage” podcasts with one named “Battle of the sexes” showing that our brains are fundamentally similar but men will have more grey matter in their brains. This leads to men excelling at information processing tasks whereas women with more white matter would excel at putting the information together.
My love for animals and how they relate to humans caused me to seek and attend the “Animal Research Day” at the University of Manchester. This gave me an insight into the way institutions use animals in research. The session on the fruit fly was particularly interesting, seeing how such a simple change in conditions can cause such drastic changes in behaviour, helping to understand humans and diseases better.
Having seen how animals are used in research, I was curious to see the converse of species conservation. Spending time behind the scenes at The Deep in Hull gave me great insight into the conservation of marine organisms. I explored and learnt about the evolutionary transition of fish to amphibians represented by the Tiktaalik. My intrigue into this evolution compelled me to read the book “Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind”. This showed me how Homo sapiens evolved from the 3 Homo species, including Homo neanderthalensis, 200,000 years earlier. Harari argues; two consequent revolutions, the cognitive then agricultural, leading to the extinction of the other 3 Homo species and the domestication of plants and animals caused Homo sapiens to be the dominant species.
For three years I’ve been involved in a Jewish Manchester youth organisation, holding the positions of vice president and president. Organising the logistics and programmes developed my planning skills to the extent I was selected to run a full weekend of events nationally. I have been appointed Deputy Head Boy, which together with my role as president has enhanced my communication, public speaking and teamwork skills. With my love for sport, I played in the year 7-11 football, cricket, athletics and rugby teams, and was a school sports captain; this developed my team working skills. I am proud to have been chosen for the Manchester FA’s Young Leaders Academy, from 60 candidates. Enabling me to help run tournaments and sessions at Football Futures events. In addition, I am a qualified football Level 1 coach, a qualified first aider and have safeguarding training, I coach under 8’s, 10’s and 12’s football which, along with my other commitments has aided the development of my planning, organisation and time management skills.
The biological world fascinates me and I am excited at the prospect of being in an environment with like-minded people learning, discussing and discovering new biological facts and theories.