Summer student placements - a sixth-form perspective

Summer student placements - a sixth-form perspective

Over the summer I completed a Nuffield Foundation placement at the Babraham Institute. I wanted to gain experience in an academic environment, one that teaches me a lot more than can be taught in sixth form.

I thoroughly enjoyed being in the bioinformatics facility, as it was an area of biology I had not been introduced to before. I found it interesting to learn how to use computer systems unlike any I had used at college. It opened my eyes to the importance of bioinformatics, and how data is analysed in a scientific environment.

The main activities during my placement were the analysis of RNA sequencing data using computer programs developed in the bioinformatics facility. From this I have not only improved my analytical thinking but I have also gained confidence on the computational front of biology. The most interesting aspect of my placement was looking at published genome data using a programme called SeqMonk and identifying poossible contamination in the datasets.

My first impression of the Babraham institute was during my interview, I was amazed at not only the size of the campus but also the facilities they had. During my placement everyone was incredibly friendly, which provided a cheerful environment to work in. I would advise anyone with a passion for science to apply for a placement, as it gives you a real life insight into life in the lab.

My next step will hopefully be to study Biology or Biochemistry at university.