Project springboards student into PhD

A Life Sciences undergraduate has been accepted on to a PhD course thanks to research skills developed during a summer school at the University of Lincoln.

Ian M Li, who achieved a first class honours degree in Biomedical Science, took part in a six-week research project led by Dr Rajiv Machado before being accepted on to a PhD at the University of Liverpool.

He said: “The skills I gained from the research and learning aspects during the course and throughout my degree impressed the interviewers, as it set me apart from other applicants. It also enabled me to develop an inquisitive mind and independent thinking. The guidance I received from Dr Machado made me more competent in the lab and gave me a skill-set that allowed me to surpass what was required. Taking part in this project made me more determined to go into a PhD and a lot of fond memories were created.”

On Ian’s achievement, Dr Machado, Senior Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences, said: “As the criteria for being accepted on to a PhD is becoming increasingly competitive, students need to prove they have the experience, determination and drive to complete the programme. Ian demonstrated he had the required skills and I am delighted he has been given this opportunity.”

The topic of Ian’s PhD is Musculoskeletal Biology – Transgenesis and Molecular Biology. His aim is to identify and target a specific gene in cartilage, which when lost is thought to be an early event that leads to osteoarthritis.

He explained: “We hope that if we can identify regulatory regions of this aggrecan gene we can target them in a cell-specific manner in repair. The hope is that in the future this will reduce the need for surgery. It will also lead to a wider understanding of the aggrecan gene and molecule as a whole. We aim to do this through a combination of computer predictions and molecular techniques in the lab.”