Aicha Ben Taher is an undergraduate student at Brunel University who undertook a summer placement at the UK DRI at UCL as part of the In2Research scheme. Here, she shares her experience for anyone else thinking about applying for an In2Research placement.
For most university students studying a STEM degree, placements and internships are an integral part of their course: helping to develop scientific skills and gain insights to inform decisions about their future career path. During the summer of the final year of my Life Science degree course, I completed an In2Research UK placement with Dr Frances Wiseman's lab at the UK DRI at UCL.
I applied to work with Dr Wiseman's group, because I was interested in the lab's aim of investigating Alzheimer's disease in individuals with Down Syndrome. My fascination with these neurological disorders stems from my previous experience working with elderly people and witnessing first-hand the decline in quality of life and the harsh reality of people living with the condition. By joining the lab, I hoped to participate in ground-breaking research to make a difference and benefit people living with these neurological disorders.
I worked with two PhD students who were really welcoming and helped me settle in quickly. My role in the team was to process different types of images prepared by the PhD students, and I was given the necessary training before I was able to process images independently. Image processing is a fundamental skill used in biology to extract information from images to provide data insights. I learnt many different image processing techniques, from image enhancement to pattern recognition.