We Are Essex

Kathryn's story

Photo of Kathryn Malpas

"It's weird, I cannot imagine going to university elsewhere."

I am an undergraduate final year genetics student but I applied for a PhD and got accepted, which was a big accomplishment. They sent me an email and I did not receive the email confirming my place and they emailed me again saying did I still want the PhD. So it one of those things that is exciting to hear but also panic that I have not seen the email

 I was able to go straight to PhD from undergraduate study because I did my placement at a company during my degree; therefore I have the research experience. I also did frontrunner scheme here at the university and I got a paper published as well as a lot of lab experience which I used to get my placement year which led me to get my PhD. I have just skipped my masters.

 My PhD is a specific medicine course/research at the University of Manchester which will start next year. It’s a programme not a specific project, so I get six months to decide the topic area I am interested in. There is a broad range of research areas, from trying to grow your own organs to gene therapy to using stem cells to try and change the gene. 

 You can actually print an organ now which is really cool. Stem cells can differentiate into any type of cell in the body. They can take an adult cell and re-programme it back to be at the stage where it can differentiate into anything. We can use that technology to grow, it is very early stages but hopefully at some point it will be able to hopefully grow into an organ so one may not have to wait on a transplant list. There would be less rejection as they would take your own cells you are basically growing your own organs. One day they may have organ banks of all people’s organs. That is a very far off futuristic but it is going in that direction and I may be involved in that.

 Science itself and the technology inspire me. People who have been able to develop the technology even with using a pipette or how they managed to use machines is just amazing: we take everything science research wise for granted because these are people who have come before us and taken years to produce technology that we use every day. Even stepping on gel to see different proteins someone actually thought of that technique. That is just amazing.

 My end goal is really to lead my own research team and have something that is something that I would be investigating in. I don’t know what that is yet but what I would be in charge of.

 Essex means a lot to me. I’ve lived here for three years. It's weird, I cannot imagine going to university elsewhere. You know everybody; a lot of my friends that did a year abroad are back, so it’s the same community with a lot of people that were here before.

It has been a good place to go to University but I’m definitely ready to move to somewhere bigger. I am going to miss being her but I am ready to move onto Manchester. I will come back and visit.


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