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Miles Capper

Course: Scientific Research and Communication

Duration: 2017-2018

HOW DID YOU END UP AT WARWICK?

“So, I was doing chemistry at Manchester Metropolitan University. I was quite interested in medicinal chemistry. There were some interesting research groups that I kind of wanted to work with. And I also saw the scientific research communication course. And I was quite interested in that aspect because I've done some writing.”

WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS?

“I quite liked it! It was, I really enjoyed the [CDT} atmosphere with the common room and, you know, yeah, the constant coffee and biscuits, which definitely went on a lot. I think they created a really nice atmosphere; I've got very fond memories of being at Warwick. It was a lot more peaceful, which is a good thing. Four your graduate studies [you] probably don’t want something as exciting anymore, maybe.”

WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE AT WARWICK LIKE?

“ So basically, I was very interested in cancer research, which is kind of still what I'm doing now, but I realized from my chemistry degree, I didn't really know a lot from the biological side. So, I was able to do a load of stuff over at the medical school. But most people had a BioChem degree, at least before doing these master's courses. I did this sort of a master class, so I would go to each lab, we’ve visit a lab each week and then learn what they do in research and write a short little summary of what their research was. And I found that, that was the best course I did. So just, I saw so much like life sciences research I never knew about. And it was a it was something different every week and it was really cool. I really enjoyed that.”

HOW ABOUT THE SOCIAL ASPECTS?

“It was nice, people were nice, it was a very friendly environment. I think the DTP [department} really foster quite a nice social environment and I made some nice friends there.”

WHAT WAS YOUR RESEARCH PROJECT?

“So, before my degree, I'd done some cancer related, but from chemical synthesis side and in Warwick, I just went, I wanted to work with Peter Sandler and yeah, I was working on shift-based ligands and photodynamic therapy. And I learned so much. It was really great. I really enjoyed that. I had so much fun being part of that research group, seeing how it worked. The work I did actually became a paper which I was second author. So that was quite nice. I really, it's a great experience doing the research project.”

WHAT WERE THE MAIN SKILLS YOU LEARNT?

WHAT DID YOU DO AFTER GRADUATING?

“After Warwick, I went off to Canada for two years and I actually ended up doing another master’s in chemistry there. Pretty much similar stuff to what I was doing in Warwick, so it was a continuation of my research. I kind of wanted to travel. Yeah, it was pretty cool. It's definitely an experience I should say anyone should do is go to another country and do something, it really opens your eyes and changes your outlook on things. It's a, whole different challenge as well because you're not just doing the research, you are moving countries, you are relocating, and you've got like new culture to kind of integrate to. It's just a lot to do. It's tough, but well worth it. And then I kind of came back in September and I'm just starting my PhD in Imperial College London. And what I'm doing there is I'm doing bio zinc isotopes in breast cancer patients. It's actually real-life human samples, which is pretty cool for me. And I'm using a technique called a multi collector, inductively coupled mass spectrometry or MCIPMS.”

HOW HAD YOUR EXPERIENCE AT WARWICK HELPED WITH WHERE YOU ARE NOW?

“It just kind of taught me a lot about how to be a researcher. What I needed to do and just also how fun it can be. I enjoyed the chemical synthesis. Then I was able to go, and I was able to take a bit more lead on my research. After that, I felt the confidence to be like “Ok, I reckon we should be doing this, this and this”, you know, rather than just being a student kind of “I'll do what you tell me”, more I was like “we should do this experiment. We should do this experiment” and able to method develop and stuff like that. So, it definitely helped me become a more independent researcher. After Warwick, I published 2 first author papers, which I think from that I was able to kind of learn how to write, how to structure a study.”

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS?

“If you're interested in science, chemistry, most sciences, you know, I did a lot of stuff over at the medical school, nothing, really nothing I had ever done before, but I learnt so much. It is a really nice environment as well, especially in the DTP, you know, you've got everyone bustling around, you have conversations with all sorts of people, it creates a really nice environment and you kind of learn about other research people are doing, like, “oh, cool, I never knew about that”. So, I would 100 percent you know, if I had to do it again, I'd do it again!