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Placement paves the way to Doctoral Research

Denise Ragusa

Since I first approached the PDC for placement advice as an undergraduate, I've been supported in every aspect of building my dream career as a scientist.

Denise, Research

Biomedical sciences

From Italy

Tell us about your career journey so far

I am currently a doctoral researcher (PhD) at Brunel University London. Ever since my placement in leukaemia and chromosome research, I've specialised in this field more and more. Thanks to the technical and research skills I built during my placement, I was able to apply for fully-funded PhDs straight after my undergraduate degree. 

What does a typical day involve?

Half of the time, I'm in the lab running experiments or taking care of equipment or stocks. The rest of the time I'm at my desk reading (or writing!) scientific literature. 

What have been the highlights of this experience? 

In addition to learning how to manage a lab and take ownership of projects, one of the big highlights was taking part in an international cytogenetics conference in Florence, where I presented my poster.

What are the biggest challenges you've faced?

Not all experiments always work, which can be frustrating. I have learnt to deal with things that don't go according to my plan. 

How has the Professional Development Centre (PDC) helped?

My placement adviser was always there to encourage me and help me stand out of the crowd. Since I first approached the PDC for placement advice as an undergraduate, I've been supported in every aspect of building my dream career as a scientist. 

What advice would you give to students or recent graduates wanting to work in your role or industry?

Working in the lab requires a lot of technical and organisational skills and it takes time to build these. Try to gain as much experience as you can from your first year. 

#IamBrunel