Resty Nabeeta -2021 CRUKCI "Summer" Research student
I got the opportunity to attend a 10 weeks summer research training at the Cancer Research Institute at the University of Cambridge from October 25th to December 16th 2021. I was attached to the Halim lab where I interacted with over 8 group members that were so willing to take me through the entire training. In short, for the entire 8 weeks I was treated as part of the group and as well a member of the institute.
The training enabled me to gain new skills and as well attain competence in several laboratory techniques used in research. I got hands-on training on most of the techniques used in basic science research under the supervision of other group members and the lab manager.
Since the institute is well equipped with both skilled individuals and all equipment required for running a research lab, my supervisor ensured that I had all the necessary training needed before using any equipment or running any assays. This further enabled me boost my confidence in handling procedures on my own with minimum supervision and by the end of the placement, my supervisors and the team leader could testify that I could indeed work on my own. Furthermore, we had a seminar series every Wednesday for all postgraduate students and the visiting students which were compulsory to attend. In these seminars students presented their ongoing research projects and it was amazing to learn new presentation skills and also to see how far people can go with scientific findings. We had to submit reports and marks for the presenters at the end of the presentation. Interacting with PhD students and post-docs in both my group and other groups, looking at their work and seeing the progress of their research greatly boosted my enthusiasm for science and inspired me to pursue a PhD as I always wanted.
During my visit, it happened that the BSI (British Society for Immunology) congress was scheduled for December while I would still be at the Institute- good timing it was! Incidentally, every member of the Halim lab had to attend the congress in Edinburgh so this was another chance for me to get a different experience. Special thanks to Dr. Maike who worked so hard to find me a travel grant and Miltenyi Biotec company came in and facilitated my travel and attendance of the BSI congress. It was such a lovely experience interacting with great immunologists from different parts of the world. While there, I had an interview with Miltenyi Biotec for their scientific spotlight, they wanted to know about science and research in Uganda. All sessions at the congress were very informative and there was a poster session where individuals gave detailed explanations of their work. It was amazing how people share knowledge and were willing to learn from each other. Attending the BSI not only impacted my social life but greatly boosted my understanding of science and immunology at a deeper level.
Conclusively this visit made me gain a sense of professionalism as a young aspiring immunologist and a clear view of what basic science research is meant to be. It was a life changing opportunity to train in a state-of-the-art laboratory that is one of the best research institutes in the world. Special thanks to Cambridge- Africa for this amazing opportunity and all the funding without which I wouldn’t have made it.
Written by Resty Nabeeta
2021 CRUKCI "Summer" Research student