Biology, ecology and biomedical science at Brighton

University of Brighton biosciences blog

Helena at graduation

How building scientific skills in Brighton led to a career in neuroscience in Barcelona

Helena Isla graduated from MRes Bioscience in 2018. She is now enjoying her job as a lab technician at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona and is about to embark on her PhD. She took some time out to tell us about her experience of studying at Brighton and how it led to her current job.

My experience at the University of Brighton has been amazing. I learned a lot during the lectures, improved my scientific skills a lot as well as increasing my knowledge in the field. Being a Spanish student studying a Masters at Brighton also helped me improve my English exponentially. Moreover living in the city of Brighton is such an amazing experience, Brighton has wonderful places, very nice people and amazing sunsets.

I already knew about a research group in Brighton that I was interested in through Erasmus+. A friend of mine also did her Masters in Brighton and told me how amazing it was living here and how much she learned during her studies here. Living in a different country is not always easy, but my course leader helped me so much and rendered my experience in Brighton even better.

I really enjoyed the cases we had in several subjects. Lecturers would give us the opportunity to present and debate our cases with our class. That really helped improve my communication skills. I also had an amazing team in my research group, they were all really helpful and I learned a lot from them. I also enjoyed going to the library to study with other students together or going to Book and Bean café to grab a coffee and talk about the different topics in the last lecture.

In the lab at Brighton

I would definitely recommend my course. The MRes allows you to spend several hours in the lab and really improve your scientific skills. Having the knowledge part covered with the lectures and being able to have a lot of practice in the lab was the key to becoming a good professional. The facilities and induction sessions to the facilities at Brighton are good, I really enjoyed working there.

I loved the lecturers, you can tell they are passionate about teaching and that passion was contagious. My research team really helped me a lot. Even after finished my Masters, my principal investigator (PI) and course leader helped in me in my search for new opportunities and provided me with nice recommendation letters.

I have always been interested in memory field as I believe our memories make us who we are. The research group I was involved with for my research project was working with certain compounds that help improve memory. The PI form the group was always so welcoming and happy to help. I definitely made several contacts for the future as well as new friends. I would love the opportunity to work with this group again in the future.

In the lab at work

Having the opportunity to work in the neuroscience field really helped me understand how much I like this field and that I would like to work in that field in the future. One of the reasons I have been hired in my new position is due to my experience in the labs at Brighton as an MRes Bioscience student. I have a job as a lab technician at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona which I am really enjoying and learning a lot working with stem cells. And I will be starting my PhD thesis in September, investigating a new therapy combining stem cells, genetic therapy and nanoparticles to cure retinopathy. Retinopathy involves inflammation and neuronal (photoreceptors) death which will be the main targets to cure the pathology.

My honest advice to anyone who is thinking of applying to this course would be to go for it. Because you will not regret it.

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Stephanie Thomson • April 22, 2021

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