Academic Foundation Programme
Why did you apply to do your AFP with the Department of Paediatrics?
I hope to become a future academic paediatrician, and the AFP provides a great starting point. I was keen to do a wet lab based project and have an interest in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and as such chose to spend my academic rotation in the Zilbauer lab.
What is your academic background?
My first experience in academia was during my iBSc year in Medical Sciences with Surgical Science at UCL, where I undertook a project in developing paediatric covered stents using a nanocomposite polymer. I found it challenging, but equally exciting and rewarding. I went on to achieve 1st class honours, gain nomination to the Dean’s List, and was awarded the prize for ‘Best Research Presentation and Viva Voce’.
What is your AFP project about?
I chose to spend my academic rotation with the Zilbauer lab, which has a focus on exploring the role of epigenetics in the paediatric gut epithelium in health and in IBD. I learnt techniques that closely align with a future career in paediatric research, including organoid culture, DNA methylation analysis using pyrosequencing and R programming.
I also developed a structured near-peer paediatric assisted learning programme, PaedPALs, and was awarded the 1st conference prize at the UKAPS annual conference 2019, and JASME foundation innovation prize 2019.
How has this experience helped you with obtaining an ACF?
The AFP is an invaluable opportunity for foundation doctors to gain insight into research. It has given me exposure to a range of laboratory techniques and bioinformatics skills, enabled me to develop my scientific method and affirmed my interest in research.
I have been fortunate to be offered the Cambridge paediatrics ACF, and I hope that it will enable me to develop into a competent academic paediatrician in the future.