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Sophie Edwards - Birmingham

1. What is your home university, what department and lab are you in?

I am at the University of Birmingham, Sport Exercise and Rehabilitation Department working in Dr Leigh Breen’s lab.

2. What type of studentship are you on?

The normal MIPTP.

3. How did you organise your accommodation for the first year?

I was lucky enough to do my masters at UoB, so I already had my accommodation sorted. However, for new students within the department, a housing email is sent out on request to all new/current students. There will also be ~60 new students on the MIBTP alongside you, most without accommodation- so everyone will be in the same boat.

4. How did you manage commuting to UoW for the first term?

It was really easy and inexpensive. There was a group of us living in Harborne/Selly Oak, so we all lift shared; splitting the petrol costs (~£10 per trip) between us. The parking at Warwick is fine if you get there early enough and a 3 month permit (Sep-Dec) only costs £50.

5. How did you organise your mini-project?

My first mini-project was within my lab group at UoB and my second is being sorted through a contact that my supervisor has at the University of Leicester. For me, the second mini-project was the hardest to decide on due to my area of research (physiology) and the fact that I wanted to learn new skills that I could carry on during my PhD and bring back to my lab group!

6. How did you organise your PIPS?

I organised my PIPS through contacting the clinical trials teams listed on the MIPTP website. I am currently doing my placement in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham on the West Midlands GMC 100,000 genome clinical trial. This has been a rewarding experience for me so far, and has given me a real insight to how scientific research is conducted ‘outside the lab’ and what it is like to work within the NHS. Although the project itself will be complete in September, the West Midlands Genomic Service will continue to provide a platform for genomic sequencing in patients with cancer and rare diseases. The aim of this service is to create a ‘personalised’ screening and treatment process and although the placement will be outside of the lab, you will be working alongside theatres and pathology to ensure that patients are identified before surgery and their samples are sent for analysis. If you are interested in this placement, please contact Joshua dot Raden at uhb dot nhs dot uk.

7. Is there anything you wished you would have known before you started?

That not having an A2 in maths is okay and that you will cope with programming! The support during these modules was great, if you find it hard, don’t worry-they will get you through it!!