One can never
have enough knowledge. One of my biggest dreams is to discover as much as
possible in the biomedical science field, but for that, just a BSc degree is
not enough.

            One of things attracting me to UCL
is the lack of stereotypes. In my home country, in a number of science
faculties there is a belief that “girls can’t do science”, while UCL stands up
for the equality – allowing every student to take a subject which deeply
interests them without any prejudice. To me, biological science, biomedical
field in particular, was more attractive than any other areas. Human body is
one of the most unique organisms on our planet, most advanced form of life. There
will always be room for new discoveries, as so much is yet to be understood.
Despite all the modern technology, advanced research techniques applied for
analysis, a lot about the human body is unknown like the reasons beyond liver’s
magnificent capability to regenerate or the uniqueness of the fingerprints.
Especially with Biomedicine, which allows to investigate deeply into the
functions of cells and their activity under different conditions. “Why?” has
always been my favourite question, especially in the context of biological
processes and the idea of having the exact understanding of human physiology
always attracted me. I have always had an interest in cancer research. Loss of
my father to leukaemia triggered my interest, which was promoted by the book The Emperor of All Maladies. In my final
year, I took “Biology of Cancer” module to have a deeper understanding of the
subject. The module provided an overview of the nature and causes of cancer
from an epidemiological, cellular and molecular perspective. One of my
favourite topics was lectures on metastasis: the ability of cancer to spread to
any part of the body. During the lectures, I learned the process of the
metastatic spread in detail on the molecular level. I was particularly interested
in the way non-cancer cell in the tumour microenvironment contribute to the
development of metastasis, for example cancer-associated fibroblasts secreting
TGFb to promote the spread of metastasis or tumour-associated macrophages secreting
cytokines to promote metastatic invasion in the surrounding tissues.

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            I want to study MSc Biomedical
Science at UCL for a few reasons. First of all, the modules appeal to me,
especially the Cancer and Personalised Medicine and the Neurodegenerative
disorders. I explained my interest in cancer previously, however, with neurodegenerative
disorders, there is still a long way to go in terms of developing more
effecting treatments. A recent paper by Kim
(2017) suggest that inhibition of basal ganglia neurons stimulates excitatory
motor signals in the thalamus thus promoting motor abnormalities, like those in
Parkinson’s disease. In my second year, I wrote an essay on Parkinson’s disease
and apoptosis and received a 75% mark. The ability to do a dissertation, will
allow me to explore a field of science, which I find interesting and make an
original contribution to the research. I enjoyed doing my dissertation on the pathogenesis and
treatment of pulmonary hypertension in the final year of my BSc, concentrating on pulmonary arterial
hypertension. The essay gave an overview on the causes and risk-factors of the
disease along with current and future therapies. I have a
bit of experience in the research field: in second year, I have taken “Research
Skills in Immunology” module. The module gave an insight of the strategies and techniques
applied in the research labs. The most interesting aspect of the module was a
lab project performed on immunosuppressive drugs, where a “new drug” efficiency
was compared that of tacrolimus.

            I have no doubt that I would be able
to meet the high demands of the programme. I left my home country at the age of
17 to start a degree in the UK, in a foreign language. Being far from home was
not easy at such a young age, but it was rewarding in a lot of ways. I did a
Science Foundation programme, which allowed me to continue my studies in the
UK. Doing a degree, especially in science, in my non-native language was
challenging, but I have learned a lot from this experience and I believe that my
passion and hard work will allow me to continue my studies at the MSc level.
One of my biggest achievements this far, was getting a paid internship in the
Institute of Cancer Research. I was involved in analysing the patient data from
different trials. I worked on PROMPTS and PACE A and PACE B trials. The PACE
trial compared stereotactic body radiotherapy and conventional radiotherapy for
the treatment of prostate cancer. PROMPTS trial also involved prostate cancer.
It investigated if pre-emptive treatment and detection of radiological spinal
cord compression could reduce the later in patients with spinal metastasis. I
learned how to be a part of the team undertaking statistical analysis for large
research trials, gained confidence in my communication skills. I enjoyed being
financially independent from my family.

            Biomedical science is not my sole
interest. I am very passionate about world cultures, especially Japanese. To
me, this country, with its long history and traditions, always seemed very
attractive. I am currently taking Japanese language classes, hoping that one
day I will be able to pay a visit to Japan and apply my knowledge.




I'm Erica!

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