Nicola Stevenson

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I came to the LMCB after completing a three-year BSc at the University of Warwick. Whilst I have always loved science and been fascinated by the complexity of the natural world, I did not decide to take my studies further and enter the world of research until I was inspired by a summer project at Imperial College London.

During my degree I specialised in Cell Biology and loved all aspects of my course, which made choosing a PhD project difficult. Embarking on a PhD is a big commitment and trying to match up the who, what and where of various projects to get the experience I wanted was difficult. When I discovered the Four Year Programme at the LMCB though, I knew it was perfect for me. The Programme begins with a rotation year in which you can complete three short projects in different labs from the LMCB and UCL and the large choice of labs on offer spans all major aspects of cell biology – ideal for those like me who love and want to try everything. All the group leaders on offer have been handpicked based on their scientific achievements so you can pick your projects based on the scientific content without worrying about quality. Overall it is a great try-before-you buy situation!

At the interview day I was most impressed by the atmosphere, which was welcoming and friendly, and this has not changed now I that I work here. Although we obviously work hard, everyone is enthusiastic and sociable and this, combined with the internal seminars and departmental retreats in which we can share our work, promotes a truly collaborative environment. There are also weekly seminars from external speakers hosted in the department, which give you constant access to the wider scientific world and can positively impact on your own research.

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In addition, one of the great things about working in an institute is the core-funded facilities available. Here we have a whole host of equipment and resources available such as electron microscopy and confocal microscopy suites, which come with their very own experts to help you out. We are also uniquely and conveniently placed on UCL campus, which means if something is not possible within the building, it can still be done on site using UCL facilities.

Together this all makes for a highly productive research department and a supportive environment in which to complete a PhD.