Biological Sciences Personal Statement
I like to think, so the biological mechanisms behind thought intrigue me: the sociobiological consequences of heredity, whether our beings are just genetically pre-empted; are we truly free thinkers when our behaviour is driven by such fundamental biological principles?
The omnipresence of biology in our daily life, from the genetic to the botanical, is fascinating, and I want to comprehend our living world through my degree. A UNIQ Biochemistry lecture cemented my love for ecology. The discussion on parasitoid wasps and their symbiosis with a virus to debilitate larvae immune systems for egg deposition depicted the unusual collaboration necessary for their survival; opening an unknown yet pivotal field of ecology.
The synchrony of these two species was interesting for observing interdependence and was reminiscent of a page in ‘Other Minds’. This described the necessity of quorum sensing within the microbiome of a Hawaiian squid for the instigation of luminescence, causing camouflage. I had never been exposed to the unity of the microbial and the organismal systems, or the interactions of internal microorganisms and the host for a mutualistic relationship, but it was intriguing nonetheless. Through the lens of Dawkins’ ‘Selfish Gene’ theory, although it seems to deviate from selfishness, it is clear that the involved organisms’ gain poses an advantageous adaptation, outweighing their sacrifice. Maybe their behaviour is indicative of an almost interspecific ‘selfish herd model’; something their genes must have made viable. I am currently supplementing this through an online course in genetic selfishness and evolutionary game theory, but it is something I am eager to comprehend at a higher level.
Upon reading an article about Cassytha filiformis, I found the compounded parasitism of the B.treatae wasp offspring and the Love Vine on the tree gall useful for understanding the selfish mechanisms of parasitic plants. The Love Vine’s vampiric nature was so bizarre as I always assumed that plants were primarily stationary and not dynamic. This manipulation between organisms was better explained after reading ‘This Is Your Brain On Parasites’.
The zombification of the American Cockroach by the Jewel Wasp to evoke submission for a complicit larvae host not only taught me of the disturbing predation between species, but was crucial for seeing the significance of chemical compounds in behaviour and adaptation. A simple venomous agent can radicalise a roach’s entire psychology so profoundly, and, to me, that intensifies my love for biology; the natural world is so layered with everything from biochemistry to biopsychology, which can be so drastically altered with just a single compound. I am now further appreciating the interdisciplinary nature of the field through Addy Pross’ ‘What is Life?’, delving into how chemical attraction founded Darwinian evolution, explored through Dawkins’ replicators. My thirst to delve into this field will only be quenched in further study.
Although I do not study A-level Maths, I have been ardent in maintaining my mathematical foundations through tutoring GCSE regularly, wherein trying to simplify complex questions has made me re-evaluate my thought process and challenged my ability to convey myself. Learning Spanish has surprising connections with science, where the fluctuations in its grammar rules aid in viewing patterns and anomalies when breaking down information. I have developed a tolerance for pressure through Debating Society, where the high demand for organisation has assisted me when approaching experimental and practical work. These skills, alongside my studies, have prepared me for the transition into the depth and intensity of university life.
What I like to think about is the uncertainty amidst my future; I will never truly know my career path until after my degree. However, out of sheer fondness and intrigue, what I can say with surety is that Biology is the subject I want to read.
Universities applied to: Oxford- Rejected after Interview Imperial- Offer Durham- Reduced Offer York- Reduced Offer Manchester- Reduced Offer