The Laidlaw Research and Leadership Programme


Understanding the role of the protein MPV17 in nucleotide metabolism

Lena Kaisinger and Hanna Al-Metrami talk about their summer research project at the UCL Institute of Neurology.

Hanna and Lena

20 February 2019

Lena (BSc Human Sciences) and Hanna (BSc Biochemistry) were delighted at the opportunity to work together with Dr Antonella Spinazzolla’s research team in the Institute of Neurology.

Their project allowed them to gain a better understanding of a particular loss of function in the MPV17 gene.

The project offered them the chance to work in a research laboratory and learn many basic laboratory skills such as RNA extraction, Western blotting and immunofluorescence.

Hanna outlined other key skills which they learned as:

“accurate pipetting and mathematical calculation skills, basic laboratory handling, as well as accurate note taking and data analysis. All of these things helped improve my confidence in a research laboratory. ”

In addition, Lena and Hanna benefited from working closely with the team and having the opportunity to observe how scientific research teams operate in practice.

Lena commented:

“I gained an insight into how it would be to work in research. My daily routine as well as personal talks with members of the lab provided me with information that is going to be very helpful when it comes to decide a future career or even just an optional module for next year.”

Perhaps the most exciting element of their summer placement, however, is knowing that their results may have actually contributed towards real scientific discoveries.