Celebrating PhD Graduation Success

 2 May 2018   Institute News

Congratulations to 16 of our MRC LMS/ICS PhD students who are graduating at the Imperial Postgraduate Graduation day today. The Faculty of Medicine and Natural Sciences Graduation Ceremony will take place at 16:30 GMT on 2 May 2018 at the Royal Albert Hall.

In the run-up to the event we spoke to two of our graduands, neuroscientists Eleanor Paul (E) and Michelle Kokkinou (M), to find out more about their time spent at MRC LMS/ICS, their motivation to do scientific research and their future aspirations and advice for potential PhD students.

What’s the most memorable thing from your time at MRC LMS/ICS working towards your PhD?

E: Definitely the friendships and professional connections I’ve made here. The PhD experience has a lot of up and downs it’s a bit of a roller-coaster and being around people who are going through or have gone through the same thing is so important.

M: Taking part in the BBC2 horizon programme, ‘’Why did I go Mad?’’, along with my supervisor Professor Oliver Howes, discussing how an excess of the brain chemical dopamine can lead to paranoia and delusions.

What made you decide to do a PhD/where did you come from?

E: I grew up on the Isle of Man and moved to Cardiff for my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience before coming to London to join the MRC LMS. I was always interested in pursuing science but I think it was doing a 3month research project in the final year of my undergraduate degree that really put the idea of a PhD in my head.

What skills were most useful to you during your PhD?

E: Patience and perseverance. It’s quite often the case that experiments don’t work and I think that having the drive to keep going and try again is really important. When things do finally go well, it’s really rewarding. I found that celebrating the little wins in the lab is vital. It always helped me to stay motivated and keep a positive outlook.

What inspires and motivates you within/to do science?

E: I guess I’ve always had a natural curiosity and I’ve always enjoyed puzzles. I love the idea of working on a question that no one knows the answer to.

M: Learning the use of cool and novel technologies to answer my research questions because using advanced tools changes the information to effort ratio.

What advice would you give to students interested in studying a PhD?

E: Definitely make the most of having experienced colleagues around you, never be afraid to ask for help and advice. Scientific research is a team effort.

M: To take the opportunity to attend national and international conferences and build your scientific network because this will increase your motivation and motivation is key to PhD progress.

Where are you heading now, what are your aspirations and future career ideas?

E: I love being in the lab and I’m hoping to pursue a career in academic research. I’m currently finishing off some bits and pieces at the MRC LMS whilst applying for post-doc positions.

Eleanor and Michelle will be attending the Faculty of Medicine and Natural Sciences Graduation Ceremony today at 16:30 GMT which will be live streamed from the Royal Albert Hall.

Congratulations to all of our PhD students graduating this year: Benjamin Foster, Amalia Martínez Segura, George Chennell, Elizabeth Ing-Simmons, Clare Pilgrim, Suchira Gallage, Robin Willows, Timothy Davies, Ariadne Whitby, Ruwan Weerakkody, Michelle Kokkinou, Eleanor Paul, Oana Telecan, Alice Pollard, Kotryna Bloznelyte, Charlotte Mykura.

Our PhD studentships page provides more information about studying at MRC LMS/ICS and is updated with current opportunities as they arise.