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Career Profile : Biosciences PhD

1. Name: Chichi Okagbue

2. Course/ job: PhD in Biological Sciences

3. A levels: Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics

4. Undergraduate degree and masters titles Both Pharmacology

5. Journey in 3 words

Exciting, Challenging, Intriguing

6. What motivated you to pursue a career in science

I was partially motivated to do so because I was good at science during secondary school but also the fact that I found science interesting in particular chemistry and biology. Then the added motivation was to pursue medicine because I wanted to be in a job where a knowledge of science can help others to feel better. I may not be doing medicine now but nonetheless pursuing a scientific research career has ultimately stemmed from the combination of me loving science (drug related sciences in particular) and using that knowledge to find cures and understand diseases better.

7. Work- Life Balance

I would say my work-life balance based from my previous job as an aseptic compounder was is overall good sure to the fact that I still have a social life and value the importance of having fun stuff to look forward to instead of just working all the time. This is the same mindset I am looking to carry into my PhD that the balance between my working in the lab and my social life outside of the lab work.

8. How did you know a pHd was for you?

I wrestled with the idea of doing a PhD very mildly when I started my BSc but with no real conviction. However it was at the point in my final year that I realised that the PhD route was more than just a passing thought. I was really engaged with pharmacology and I wanted to keep on learning about it and be a part of any potential new developments particularly in cardiovascular sciences. My Masters course confirmed the idea of me pursuing a PhD because I was deeply involved with my dissertation which was the best part of my whole course for me. I knew from then that conducting a research project in an area of great interest and writing about what happened for an extended period of time was what I wanted to do. Additionally, I also love the idea of the title Dr in front of my name!

9. What advice would you give someone wanting to apply for a phd

To cast your net very wide especially if applying for funded projects and to simply keep at it and never give up as competitive as they are. My PhD isn’t a funded project however it is in the field of my dreams therefore you may need to be prepared to make the sacrifice of studying for free in order to do the project of your dreams. I would advice that you analyse the project description carefully to make sure that the project is not only interesting but also feasible for you as an individual. Lastly, don’t hesitate to contact the supervisors for more clarification on any of the research techniques you will be using because ultimately these skills will be added to your repertoire when applying for postdoctoral positions.

10. What do you see yourself doing afterwards?

I see myself working in cardiovascular research in the industry in order to obtain a vast amount of experience before becoming a lecturer when I am older with interesting topics to teach and inspire young future scientists.

11. Did you do a summer internship before your phd? If yes do you believe has benefited you? - if no do you think it made applying for a phd any harder

In my case, I didn’t specifically do an internship before doing my PhD because of my job however if circumstances were different I definitely would have done some work over the summer; preferably at the lab I am looking to do my PhD. Having said this, not doing an internship or working in a research job didn’t hinder me applying to my PhD course.


I hope this post inspires you to follow your passions and acknowledge that at every stage of your career will involve perseverance, consistency and discipline to help you achieve your desired goal. Never forget that “ no accomplishment is too small and no goal is too high”

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