Postgraduate Medical Microbiology Personal Statement
Southampton University hosts the national biofilms innovation centre and fellows linked to this lectured me on their most recent findings within my biofilms and microbial communities module. I was captivated by the module content and enjoyed building upon my second-year module, medical microbiology.
I scored high first-class grades in these modules, including one of my highest grades ever — 90 % for a question on quorum sensing within pseudomonas aeruginosa. I became aware at University how we now face a critical point in microbiology. Antimicrobial resistance is becoming a worldwide issue, and as such, people are dying unnecessarily in hospitals. It is down to microbiologists to solve this problem, and I wish to be a part of that story.
Following my second year, where I was awarded a faculty merit award for averaging above 75%, I secured a seven-week placement with Bioquell. It was during this project that I got to play a role in tackling problems related to hospital-acquired infections. The project involving using hydrogen peroxide to eliminate multidrug-resistant biofilms. Following the addition of hydrogen peroxide to bacterial spores, I used an omega plate reader to measure the rates of cell metabolism using a fluorescent compound.
Geobacillus sterothermophillus spores were used because they represent the most resistant bacterial form in nature. If they were eliminated, we could be sure that all other bacteria would also be destroyed. I found this project exciting because I knew the technology would be used to eliminate bacteria within hospitals. This placement exposed me to a range of microbiological techniques and developed my skills in relevant statistical approaches. The project also involved communicating my results to senior colleagues, exposing me to the commercial implications of the project and its impact on public healthcare.
In the third year, upon completion, I was awarded a Dean’s list award for “sustained academic excellence”. I chose to focus my thesis on a nucleic acids project to diversify my laboratory skills. I used CRISPR-Cas9 to knock-out the gene WISP-1, which is understood to play a sinister role in some cancers and lung fibrosis. The procedure involved cloning CRISPR guide oligonucleotides into a vector, maintaining and transforming a cell line and using PCR and Western blot analysis. I developed an array in silico skills through the use of SnapGene and Ensemble, abilities I can further utilise in my masters.
This MSc appeals to me because the modules taught in the programme align well with my academic curiosities. For example, I enjoyed learning about virology and scored a rare mark of 100% in a related examined essay. I wrote about the infection mechanism of the Epstein Barr virus and performed well because I found the content extremely interesting. This motivated me to carry out extensive extra reading, which I applied effectively to the question. I have also learnt about HIV, and other retroviruses such as the human moloney leukaemia virus and how this can be utilised to deliver therapeutic transgenes in the treatment of genetic pathologies. Other microorganisms I have studied include; fungi, parasites and protozoa.
In terms of my academic ability to perform well in this masters, I have been a consistent first class student. Out of eighteen examined essays presented to me in the 2nd and 3rd years, I scored a First in fifteen of them. My ability to understand and apply fundamental biology is an excellent skill for this masters. My laboratory skills are also of a High standard. In my dissertation, I was commended for contributing to meetings and for my ideas related to the direction of the project. During my placement, the module lead of my biofilms module told me I performed well in this particularly tricky project.
In addition to my academic aptitude, I plan to use this year to improve my understanding of microbiology. Alongside applying to become a member of the Royal Society of Biology, I recently attended a seminar by Dr Stephen Wallace titled “Native and engineered microorganisms for chemical synthesis”. I will also be volunteering on a project exploring the ability of DNA to self-assemble, with potential to be used in medicine, nanotechnology, and synthetic biology.
In conclusion, I wish to study this MSc because it will give me transferable skills to complete a PhD within a related discipline. I hope to contribute positively to research focusing on the reduction of hospital-acquired infections. Due to LSHTM being such a specialist establishment, the lecturers are at the forefront of their fields and us such, they will make an excellent contribution in continuing my education and transforming me into a successful microbiologist.
Medical microbiology at London School of hygine and tropical medicine