Submitted by Leah
Studying the intricate workings of the human body through my A-level courses in Biology and Chemistry, I have been fascinated by the scientific causes behind disease. This has confirmed to me that Biomedical Sciences is suited to me as I will be enabled to further my knowledge and understandings of interactions within the human body.
Whilst studying Chemistry, I have been intrigued by the huge effect that changes on a molecular level can have on bodily function. For instance, the importance of the carbonic acid – hydrogen carbonate buffering action in blood in preventing potentially fatal acidosis. Moreover, the importance of screening for harmful optical isomers of chiral molecules in drug synthesis, illustrated by the devastating birth defects of one optical isomer of thalidomide. Importantly, I have undertaken a research task where I have planned and carried out the synthesis of aspirin. This has prepared me for laboratory work by developing my practical skills in risk assessment, accurate use of equipment and purification techniques.
In my Biology course, I have enjoyed learning about somatic cell gene therapy and how the insertion of a functional copy of the CFTR gene into a liposome relieves symptoms associated with Cystic Fibrosis. The prospect of working in a field that can develop new treatments similar to this that can improve quality of life for sufferers is exhilarating.
In my free time, I have completed extra research to expand my understanding of human biology. Reading ‘Do No Harm’ by McEwan has taught me about neurosurgery and has excited me to study the role of the nervous system in the processing of stimuli. Furthermore, I have participated in the HE+ Biology programme run by the University of Cambridge, where I was enthralled by extension lectures on conditions, such as gestational diabetes.
In July 2017, I travelled to Warsaw for 2 weeks through Gap Medics for hospital work experience. During this time, I conversed with a range of medical professionals and patients whose first language was Polish, enabling me to develop my communication skills. My first week was spent shadowing a nurse in an ophthalmology department. I saw first-hand the importance of laboratory work in healthcare diagnosis and treatment as I often took patient blood samples to the hospital laboratory where vital analysis took place. I spent my second week with a paediatrician, where my huge interest in the cause of disease was sparked by witnessing a patient with a rare case of Maple Syrup Urine Disease. I was intrigued to learn how this autosomal, recessive metabolic disorder is caused by a mutation in the genes for the production of a protein complex that breaks down the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. This has fuelled my ambition to understand more about the complexity of the human body, where a single change in the base sequence of DNA can cause huge implications to normal functioning.
I have demonstrated commitment and improved my communication skills through executing group presentations on specific career paths for Southampton Junior University. Moreover, during my time completing the National Citizen’s Service, I worked as part of a team to plan a family fun day to fundraise for Autism Hampshire. This experience enabled me to show exceptional time management skills. Finally, working as a stadium cashier has enhanced my interpersonal skills and ability to make decisions under pressure.
A career in the field of biomedical science greatly excites me as I’ll be given the opportunity to further my scientific learning to understand the human body on a deeper level. This will set me up with the knowledge to pursue a career where I will have the potential to research into new treatments that could revolutionise medicine, and improve the quality of life of a sufferer with a disease currently thought to be incurable.