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Lab Research Assistant
About the placement/internship

Why did you decide to do a placement/internship?

To gain vital experience into a specific biological field and decide whether it would be a potential path for my future career

How did you find your placement/internship?

Speculative application

Application process

I sent a covering letter and my CV to Your Gene Health in an email.

What made you choose this organisation for your placement/internship?

Your Gene Health are a small company who aim to provide women with an accurate result which can help to put them at ease and potentially prepare to have a child with Edward's, Patau's or Down's syndrome. This is an extremely useful service that can be available for some pregnant families. Being a smaller company also meant that I would likely be able to do more hands-on lab work and interact more closely with the members of staff.

Main responsibilities

Whilst working alongside another placement student, we looked for a way to improve the current IONA workflow used. This was by trying to decrease the time taken to clean-up the DNA from the enzymes using magnetic beads. We explored this by using a larger magnet, testing the volumes of ethanol and varying the rest time.

Typical day

I would read up on the methods and workflow used by Your Gene Health and at first observed in the service labs and research labs. I created DNA libraries and added adapters onto each fragment using their IONA workflow and used advanced sequencing machines, such as the ION torrent, to quantify the mass of DNA and identify the genetic sequence.

What did I enjoy about my placement/internship?

I enjoyed being given different responsibilities and the opportunity to conduct my on mini-project. This allowed me to use skills that I had learnt from my course and apply them to a real life situation.

Did you use any skills learned from your course?

I used many different lab skills such as pipetting small volumes accurately and working in sterile conditions.

Has your time on placement influenced your future career choice?

I would definitely enjoy working in a lab and potentially working within the healthcare sector.

Advice to students

My piece of advice to students

Don't be afraid to apply to lots of different companies and make sure you have a strong CV.

Form completed: 16 Sep 2019

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