One of the most
devastating diseases, Huntingdon’s disease
‘Finding out that…’
‘how such a small error in a genetic code can affect an individuals life so
drastically (such a large, predetermined, life changing, life affecting
Reading the book ‘Genome’…
I am particularly fascinated
by The influence of the CAG codon on the development of Huntingdon’s disease,
how someone’s fate can lie in a single additional CAG repeat and
that the more CAG
repeats this person possesses, the sooner their decline in health will begin.
That in the case of such a drastic life changing condition, the time in your
life the effects of it will develop is predetermined by a such a small area of
your genetic code.
Recent research into a
possible cure for Huntington’s disease by targeting and destroying the mRNA
coding for the Huntingtin protein. Opening up new questions and areas for
research into whether lowering the levels of this particular protein can lead
to a cure for Huntingdon’s disease… one of my favourite aspects of science as a
whole… how one answer can open further paths and opportunities to study deeper…
I chose my A level
subjects to satisfy my growing interest in the scientific field, allowing me to
pursue further research into subjects I am truly inspired by and work towards a
career in medical science. I gained invaluable lab skills and techniques from studying
chemistry, enjoying organic chemistry in particular, the wide array of
experiments following reaction pathways and learning reaction mechanisms was
what drove my interest in taking organic chemistry as a module at university.
Through studying psychology, I have developed a keen interest in furthering my
knowledge of genetic disorders, looking not only into the biological factors
that cause them but the environmental influences that can result in partly
genetic disorders such as schizophrenia. I am mesmerized by the pure scale of
research that has yet to be conducted into the most complex, vital organ in the
human body and neuroscience being an optional module on the course further drew
me to my decision to want to study biomedical science.
It was in biology,
however, that ultimately convinced me to aspire to a career in biomedical
science and research, I was entranced by what we learnt regarding the
complexity of the structure of cells and DNA and found the subject as a whole
engaging. I would love the opportunity to study these topics deeper and am
enthusiastic to conduct my own research into them.
I have developed vital
aseptic techniques and key practical skills such as DNA gel electrophoresis,
fingerprinting and amplification, sparking my interest in genetics as I am
captivated by the fact that you can essentially read DNA.
My additional reading
further reinforced my drive to study medical science. I initially decided to
read the book ‘Genome’ to gain a broad understanding of the field of genetics,
however, not only did it reinforce my pre-existing knowledge of the structure
of DNA and genes, it also opened my eyes to the ever growing field of research
into the genome and genetic disorders.
Listening to podcasts
such as Inside Health and BBC radio 4 frontiers directed me towards further
reading into genetics where I also recognized the growing impact and role of
technology in medical research.
I spent a week gaining
work experience in a veterinary surgery where my drive to pursue a career in
medical science was reinforced. I was given the opportunity to observe how the
vet interacted with the clients, and how she showed the respect and empathy
required in delicate situations. I took part in the daily upkeep of the
surgery, recognizing the importance of keeping the operating theatre sterile.
My highlight of the experience was shadowing the vet through the routine
operations, observing the clinical techniques I had research and attained in
class demonstrated in a work environment was eye opening. I was also able to
view and assist in the analysis of several x-rays, following the road to
I also spent a
considerable amount of time gaining work experience in a pharmacy as I wanted
an insight into some of the aspects of the career in the pharmaceutical
industry. Here I built on my communication skills, answering calls and working
both behind the counter and in the front of the shop.
Additionally, I worked
at my local bank for a week, further expanding my customer and communication
skills. I managed the tills and developed my teamwork skills through working
with the varied teams within the branch.
What drew me to the
biomedical science course was the flexibility offered; the optional modules
would give me the opportunity to learn more about topics such as neuroscience
but also specialize in the topics I enjoy most such as genetics and immunology.
Recent advances in
gene therapy such as gene editing using zinc finger nucleases and using
modified T cells that attack leukaemia is an additional indication of the ever
growing field of medical research I am eager to be a part of.