Manchester Metropolitan University
(Supervisors: Dr Sarah Jones, Dr Amanda Unsworth and Prof Stuart Allan)
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Bismah Mateen and I am due to start my third and final year of Biomedical Sciences at Manchester Metropolitan University. Doing this degree at this University was not my original plan, but now I could not imagine doing anything else. I hope to continue my hard work as I have shown in previous years and achieve a first at the end of this academic year, as I thrive to get on to the Scientist Training Programme.
How did you hear about the Platelet Society Summer Studentship Scheme, and why did you want to get involved?
Dr Sarah Jones, one of my supervisors for this studentship, advertised this opportunity after her lecture. I immediately felt this was for me and decided I would apply, in order to develop my CV, gain lab experience and get an insight into the research aspect of science, which I had not been greatly informed on. I also enjoyed the Blood Sciences unit the most in my second year and this studentship gave me the chance to build on this knowledge and went hand in hand with my future career aspirations in the field of haematology.
What was the focus of your project?
The title of my project was “Investigating platelet and endothelial cell interactions and the deposition of fibrinogen in Alzheimer’s disease.” The project involved investigating platelet function in a transgenic rat model of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as investigating whether platelet degranulation and in particular the release of fibrinogen could alter brain endothelial function or microglial activation.
Did you have any expectations before you started?
I was very eager to start as I always enjoyed the laboratory aspects of my degree but wanted more freedom to work independently and have the chance to expand my technical skills using a variety of machinery.
How did the project go? Did you enjoy your research time?
This once-in-a-lifetime experience exceeded my expectations and I will never forget it. I was very lucky to have really supportive, understanding and flexible supervisors.
I began this studentship not even considering going into the research field after graduating but working with a whole team of successful scientists was very inspiring., I really enjoyed being part of the team, communicating to advise one another to solve problems and troubleshoot. This positive experience has seriously made me consider doing a PhD.
What have you learnt about yourself and the research environment?
I have learnt that I really do love science!
Every individual staff member I worked alongside had their own personal journey and It was reassuring to hear that there are many different routes to success.
I was surprised to learn just how much research is constantly going on, even just at my own university. As an undergraduate student, you are often only exposed to lecture theatres and teaching labs, so it was fantastic to see all the cutting-edge research going on behind the scenes and be part of it. The summer studentship also highlighted how important research is for the advancement of healthcare.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying next time?
Go for it!
Before applying, you must read around the project area to ensure you are interested as it is a big commitment with big responsibilities. But don’t waste an opportunity that may come up.
Once started, ask as many questions as possible and be open to conversation with members of staff to develop professional relationships and expand your network.
Take your time, and ease into it, no one expects you to be an expert straight away but all they want is someone happy to be there and eager to learn.