Our BRC has now been supporting a variety of PhD studentships for 10 years. To celebrate, we have developed an infographic summarising the outputs of the programme and experiences of some former students.
Our PhD Programme was the first to take a pioneering approach to supporting the most promising graduates to undertake in-depth postgraduate training in translational research, leading to the award of a PhD. Students are attracted by the wide range of project choices and the emphasis on translational research. The programme includes laboratory based research projects, e.g. to develop skills in molecular biology, as well as entirely computational research projects where students will learn bioinformatics and data analysis. The students are co-supervised by two supervisors which enhances interdisciplinarity across the BRC themes.
Between 2009 and 2019 we funded 58 PhD studentships, and the PhD funding has enabled a variety of different careers. Of those who have completed the programme so far, 21 have progrssed to academic post-doctoral research training, and 11 have progressed to careers in industry. In the first ten years of the programme, our PhD students published 97 articles.
Katrina Soderquest, who did a PhD with us in 2008 – 2012 and is now a Data Scientist at Expedia Group, said: “The rotations projects gave me time to think about what I wanted to do. If I hadn’t had the opportunity to try that, I may possibly not have tried the computational route which actually has shaped my entire career.”
Charlotte Lee, now a Medical Science Liaison at Ferring Pharmaceuticals did her PhD with us in 2013-17. She said: “The translational approach was the main thing that attracted me to the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ BRC. The catalogue of projects available was very attractive.”
Tokuwa Kanno did his PhD with us in 2012 – 2016 and is now a Computational Biologist at Janssen. He said: “I found I had a greater affinity for computational biology than wet lab science. I started transitioning towards computational projects in the final year of my PhD. I was fortunate that my academic advisors supported me during this transition.”
Professor Rebecca Oakey, our NIHR BRC’s Training Lead said: “We are thrilled that our cohorts of PhD students have, over the last decade, benefited from the collaborative efforts of our dynamic MRes training program alongside world leading research groups. The strong training support team have enabled the delivery of a first rate student experience for our future translational research leaders.”
Dr Kate Blake, Director of Research And Development Strategy, added: “We are delighted with the success of the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ BRC PhD Programme, and successes of its alumni. This is a strong and sought after programme that enables us to attract the brightest talent into translational research.”