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Biological science (Medical biology) to Interdisciplinary PhD

  • Name : Ramota Adelakun

  • Current Title: PhD Student

  • A levels/ equivalent : Biology, Chemistry, Maths

  • Undergrad and post grad degrees:

Bsc Biological sciences (medical biology) with a year abroad

Msc – Tropical disease biology

Journey in 3 Words: Exhausting, Liberating, Fulfilling

What motivated you to pursue a career in science?

I have always been fascinated by how people work, it led me to my undergraduate degree and it was here I developed more of an interest into the disease side of things rather than the bodies response. My interest still holds and I want to help translate academic science into something than can be understood by the masses.

This is an updated career profile. You can read more about Ramota's Msc journey : Tropical Disease Biology Msc Career Profile and her Year abroad experience

  • Briefly describe your research interests:

I am interested in the intersection between biological and social science and science policy development and implementation. My PhD is looking at arsenic and bacterial contamination of drinking water in Bangladesh, and the influence of evidence on developing appropriate health policy.

  • The last time I interviewed you, you were “thinking” about doing a Phd. How did you find your current programme?:

I used to narrow down my interests and see what sort of programs existed. Based on that I also identified where I wanted to complete my PhD, and what sort of research I would be happy doing. I did a lot of research on how programmes work and easily determined I wasn't interested in pursuing another masters. I was interested in rotational programmes that would give me a chance to explore further than my previous degrees. My current program offered me all of that.

  • Do you wish you took a break between your Msc and Phd?:

Sometimes, and that is mostly because I am exhausted by academia. But i also know that i work best with momentum - so continuing straight on was the best way to ensure that i would actually complete a PhD.

  • What advice would you give your past self?:

Stop worrying about what will be, keep doing what you enjoy and the rest will follow

  • Work- Life Balance:

I am a big advocate for work life balance, there is no reason why we should come and kill ourselves for work/academia. I ensure that I always get two days a week off. This could be the weekend, or one weekday and one weekend. It just depends on whether i feel like working on particular days and what my work load is like. I also ensure I take University closure days as times off. I dont attend any online meetings and I rarely respond to emails that require me to do immediate work unless I’m letting them know they’ll receive it after the break. I also work hours that suit me best, but ensure I get 6-8hrs sleep. This could be starting at 12pm and finishing at 6pm mostly uninterrupted.

  • What advice would you give on dealing with rejection and perseverance?:

Rejection can for the most part teach you what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes rejection is a game of chance, but a lot of the time you simply weren’t the right fit at that right time for that particular thing. Figure out how to re-invest what you want and find the next thing that may fit infinitely better. I also believe that what’s meant for you will never miss you.

What do you do outside your direct Phd work and how has that shaped what you plan on doing in the future ?

Outside my PhD, I am the founder of the UCL Black Doctoral Student Network. This is a community I fostered in the summer of 2020, to give students the opportunity to relate to one another in a safe environment. As part of this role, I am also curating our first public network event! I have also taught as part of the Brilliant Club, translating my research to Yr9/10 students and showing them what is possible. Furthermore I work as a Teaching assistant, and assist with any other side projects I have the opportunity to dip into. All of these things has helped me to realise my passion for sharing knowledge, and partaking in really good research. I’m excited to see what the future has to bring.


Sign up for the UCL Black Doctoral Student Network : Teach me Like I am 5 conference :

Friday 4th June 2021

This one-day conference will showcases the talents of Black Doctoral Students across different departments at UCL. All presentations will be developed to be communicated to a non-specific audience.

It is inteneded for all audiences. Everyone is encouraged to sign up !


  • When considering your career path, how much has your potential salary affected your decision?:

This is hilarious because about 98%. I work hard and believe in being paid for the value of the work I put. I don’t believe I would work in a Job that doesn’t acknowledge that monetarily.

  • Outside science how would you describe yourself:

Introvert, avid tv show binge watcher and all round lover of life and food.


To keep up with Ramota you can follow her on twitter : @TheRamota

This is an updated career profile. You can read more about Ramota's Msc journey : Tropical Disease Biology Msc Career Profile and her Year abroad experience


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