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Institute of Genetics and Cancer

Institute of Genetics and Cancer

A blog for our community to write about their interests and to share their stories.

Work Experience with the Noor Gammoh Lab

By Sydney Peters, George Watson’s College


Sydney Peter on work experience with Noor Gammoh

When I was first offered the chance to work in Noor’s lab I was so excited but wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. Biology and Chemistry have always been my favourite subjects in school but I was intrigued to see what life as a scientist would really be like. Before going into the lab I thought I’d like a career in STEM but wasn’t sure how I would find working in a lab environment. Any nerves I had going in disappeared from the moment I arrived when I was welcomed by everyone.

Shadowing Alina, I was introduced to lots of new apparatus and processes that extend far beyond the school course such as: mini prepping (used to isolate plasmids from bacteria); western blotting (to separate and identify proteins); gel electrophoresis and immunofluorescence for light microscopy. These processes fascinated me and I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to see them first hand. Learning about the types of experiments that biochemists do excited me and definitely cemented my interest in studying this at university.

Aside from the science itself, I also learned the attributes that make a good scientist. Lots of patience and perseverance is required when carrying out experiments, as you often don’t get the results you expect to see. This definitely made me appreciate the skills of a research scientist, as they need to have good problem solving skills and resilience, even when something goes wrong, and an open mind to understand what you can learn from that.

Something I really valued from my time in the lab was Alina’s willingness to answer my many questions and to explain exactly what she was doing in terms that I could understand. Right from the start, we had a good relationship and I felt comfortable asking her for clarification and never felt belittled for not understanding.

For anyone else who gets this opportunity, I’d advise you to not be afraid to ask questions or for help. I really felt like I got the most out of my time in the lab because I got answers to my scientific queries and also to the question of what I want to do when I leave school.



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