UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health


GOS ICH MSc Student Profiles

Read about the experiences of previous students on our taught programmes.

    MSc in Cell and Gene Therapy 

    Federica Merella

    Federica Merella 

    My name is Federica, I am a consultant anaesthetist working for the NHS and I have just completed the MSc in Cell & Gene Therapy at University College of London. I decided to sign up for this program because I had a strong interest in genomic medicine. 
    Indeed, this MSc gave me a structured overview of the field of genomic, recent progress in gene and cell therapy, and I was able to appreciate its profound impact on translational research also in anaesthesia.In addition, the program gave me the opportunity to improve many academic skills, including critical thinking and scientific writing.

    The flexible mode also allowed me to study while continuing to carry on my clinical work which I considered a strong plus. The programme was intense and challenging but certainly worth my time and energy and I would highly recommend it to anyone with a strong interest in research in genomic medicine.


    Ali Fouad Alhawa

    Ali Fouad Alhawaj (2019-2020)

    I enrolled in the Cell and Gene Therapy MSc programme for the 2019/2020 academic year, where I became the student representative. Throughout the course, academic & administrative staff provided us with exceptional support and were keen to have our feedback continuously to ensure having the best possible experience. 

    Regarding modules, we benefited from lectures given by renowned speakers, which were supplemented with interactive sessions and workshops. I personally was able to build a solid foundation in genomics, which still benefits me greatly in my current PhD project. 

    Despite the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic, we had the opportunity to choose from a wide range of research projects in different areas such as applying stem cells and gene therapies in renal diseases, neuromuscular diseases, neurodegeneration, and cancer. My research group was very welcoming and supportive, as were other groups to my colleagues as well. 

    Overall, the programme was a pivotal point in my career. It equipped me with the knowledge and skills to further pursue my postgraduate studies with confidence. I would definitely recommend this programme for future students interested in the field, whether from academic or medical backgrounds.


    Claudiu Cozmescu

    Claudiu Cozmescu 

    My passion for Cell and Gene Therapies has arisen following a talk about personalised medicine during my undergraduate degree at UCL. I soon came to aspire to a career in this fast-emerging field and sought opportunities to strengthen my theoretical and practical knowledge of these therapies. Being accepted to the MSc Cell and Gene Therapy of the UCL GOS Institute of Child Health granted me this chance. I strongly believe that the structure of this programme was efficiently designed to provide a smooth transition from the taught system encountered at the undergraduate level to the researched-based learning that defines a researcher’s professional life. The mandatory core modules, taught by highly experienced and renowned people of the institute, gave me a strong understanding of the various therapeutic approaches and the challenges currently attached to them. On the other hand, the research project allowed me to really develop my critical thinking and practical skills required for laboratory work, while also understanding  the challenges encountered in a research career. While these are all invaluable, more important were the skills such as, but not limited to, academic writing and presentation, data analysis and networking skills I acquired during this Masters. I am currently a PhD student at the Institute of Child Health and a Teaching Associate for two of the modules in the MSc Cell and gene Therapy 2021-2022 course. Looking back, I really believe that this MSc degree was the stepping stone I needed to obtain an ICH’s Child Health Research PhD Studentship, which allows me to continue my professional development on the amazing field of Cell and Gene therapy. All in all, I would definitely recommend the UCL ICH MSc Cell and Gene Therapy to anyone who is interested to pursue a career in this incredible field.

    MRes in Child Health

    Pornchanok Wantanakorn (2016 - 2017)

    "I decided to choose the MRes in Child Health, instead of an MSc, under introduction from the Programme Director Dr Katy Pike, since it offered a mid-way degree between MSc and PhD. The benefit I got from this programme was research skills. I did my research project on the subject of children with autism under the supervision of Dr Michelle De Hann and Helen O'Reilly. My supervisors helped me to conduct research with those children with special needs and their parents, and gave me feedback to improve my skills. Another advantage of this MRes was that it provided a compulsory basic statistic module and an epidemiology in child health module which were both useful for my project. I think this course is suitable for students who are deciding which career path they would like to take; researcher or clinician.

    For me, after I finished the MRes, I went back to my career as a developmental behavioral pediatrician in Thailand. However, I'm still using research in my career path and my experience of MRes in Child Health at UCL it is very helpful for me."

    Atul Palakattil (2016 - 2017)

    "In my eyes, the world of research nurtures curiosity and identifies realistic possibilities and potentials to change lives for the better. I needed to be a part of it and where better to gain experience, knowledge, and skills other than at a world-renowned institution such as UCL. After completing my medical studies and having envisioned medical improvements in the field of Paediatrics and Mental Health I pursued a Master of Research in Child Health. The course schedule allowed me to settle into the programme at my own pace and the programme offered additional guidance and support in terms of improving my skills in statistics, writing, and leadership. As my main research project, I was part of a team that considered autism and the effects of emotion recognition training on visual attention. I particularly enjoyed meeting the parents and the children who took part in the study as well as working with the team in charge of the study. The skills and knowledge I have gained from this experience are invaluable and I aim to use them in my career as a medical doctor. I recommend this course to anyone within the scientific community with a curiosity or interest in research."


    MSc Child and Adolescent Mental Health

    Jane Kennedy (2016-2018) 

    I applied for the UCL MSc in Child and Adolescent Mental Health to support a career change into the area having worked in business and market research for over 20 years since graduating in psychology and biology. The MSc has given me an understanding of current theory, research and practice across a wide range of areas within the field, and also taught me how to critically appraise academic research papers. The lecturers were leaders in their field and also often NHS practitioners; I found the anonymised case discussions an extremely valuable link between theory and practice. The students came from a diverse range of jobs and countries (mental health nurses, teachers, special needs support, paediatricians etc.) and it was helpful to learn from their experiences during group discussions. For my dissertation I analysed data from an adolescent psychiatric unit to understand the drivers of change in outcome for the young people there.  I received an enormous amount of support in achieving my goals throughout the course and I would strongly recommend this Masters and UCL as a place to study.

    I was keen to move into clinical practice and my placement as an assistant psychologist at an NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) gave me practical experience which was invaluable alongside the Masters when I came to apply for training jobs.  After graduating I got an NHS funded IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) recruit to train post which is training me as a specialist psychological therapist for children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder.