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MRes Oncology to PhD Cancer Sciences

  • Name :Adesewa Adebisi


  • Job Title: PhD Cancer Sciences

  • A levels/ equivalent :Biology, Chemistry, Psychology

  • Undergrad and post grad degrees:

BSc Biochemistry

MRes Oncology

  • Favourite science fact

If all the DNA in your body was put end to end, it would reach to the sun and back over 600 times

Journey in 3 Words : Adapting, Growing and Fun
  • Briefly describe your current role:

My PhD is a non-clinical project titled “Investigating the impact of radiotherapy on the sensitivity of cancer cells to lymphocyte cytotoxicity”. In essence, radiotherapy is generally expected to have a therapeutic benefit to cancer patients, and has been proven to do so. However, based on recent findings from our group, radiotherapy has been found to negatively impact certain immune cells ability to kill cancer cells, in a transient manner. I will be expanding on some of this work in in vivo settings to determine the extent of these observations and hope to understand how this can influence future clinical trials and therapeutic interventions designs.


  • What motivated you to pursue a career in science?

I think my motivation is mostly due to genuine interest and curiosity about science. I have been interested in science from high school and to date, science has always left me wanting to find answers and to understand more about the world around me.


  • What is a typical week like for you? Would you describe your role as varied or predictable and how does that tie into your personality?


Currently my week typically involves running a week time point experiment. I would set up my experimental assay on Monday and treat my cancer cells with radiotherapy and run a flow cytometry assay on Wednesday and Fridays (both of these days tend to be quite busy!). In between, I may have some meetings with certain external organisations I volunteer for. My days tend to be predictable, especially when I have planned my experiments beforehand. The unpredictable days are when things just do not go to plan and I would need to strategize and restart again. With my personality type, I like to have things planned or at least have a rough idea of what I am working, but stil allowing space for flexibility so my PhD ties in quite well with this.


  • How did you know a PhD was for you?

I knew my specific PhD would be for me because I found the project very interesting during learning more about it in the application process, but also because I was able to do a project that would serve to satisfy my scientific curiosity.


  • The Path to PhD is very unique. What was your journey like and what advice would you give students wanting to apply?


Oftentimes students are split into different groups, those who have had their minds set on doing a PhD since they came out of the womb, those who see it as the next best thing for career progression, some wanting to learn and others because it's the natural next step after a BSc/MSc . If any students belong to the latter, I would advice for students to really understand or have a clear idea what it is they would like to gain out of doing a PhD and would the *specific* PhD they are applying to offer them that. Speaking to lab group members (outside the PI) also helps to understand the working culture in the group. Most PhDs are 3-4 years and you would want to join a group you can learn and grow in, and not one where communication or team ethic is not present,



  • Having worked in academia and research as an Educational officer and Scientific Officer before your PhD, what are the transferable skills you use currently in your PhD?


Definitely communication skills - learning how to listen to people in a team, troubleshoot and come up with ideas and learning how to work within a team and making your voice heard


  • What resources helped you most during your career journey ( you can also talk about the lack of resources if applicable)?

Hm, LinkedIn was very helpful in exposing me to alternative career outside academia and my university does a great deal in bringing alumni from pharma, medical, academia and alternative routes for networking opportunities and to share their experience.


  • How have mentors contributed to your career journey and what tips would you give on building a genuine relationship.


Mentors have been very helpful! Either indirectly through friends in the field or through programmes I had signed up to. Sharing knowledge, insider tips about what the application process actually looks like and writing a good CV has been very beneficial. The main advice I would give is to be genuine and clarify expectations. This woud look like at your first meeting, discussing what communication would be like practically , so down to finer details like frequency and style. Being open and honest , often times we want to bring forward our most ‘polished’ self forward in mentor-mentee relationships but I find that in the not-so-polished areas are where my mentors has been able to help me so much more.


  • For your current role, what application / interview top tip would you give?

Always reach out to lab group members and supervisors before applying for a particular project. It would be a good chance to ask important questions relating to the supervision style - are they accessible or more of an hands off approach? Does the lab group spend time together, outside the lab? What is the working culture of the group and are there any requirements outside the PhD project that would be required e,g, supervising MSc students. You’ll be spending around 4 years with a lab group so I cannot stress how important it is to make sure it is also a right fit for you also! It’s a two-way interview, so you need to check the group is where you want to be.


  • What is your biggest pet peeve about how the world perceives science ?

Hm, this would be the level of scepticism that people have around certain types of research

  • Outside science how would you describe yourself?

I would say I am someone who really loves to find joy in life, enjoy God and relationship with people around me .



 


Read Adesewa's first profile here: From Biochemistry to Education Officer: https://www.thecatalystinme.com/single-post/biochem-to-education-officer


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