‘I am a final year PhD student at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) working with Dr Chris Murgatroyd. My research focuses on investigating inflammatory mechanisms underlying age-related cognitive decline in humans, and the role of exercise. I was awarded a £400 travel grant from the Biochemical Society to enable me to undertake a three month laboratory visit at Dr Sarah J Spencer’s lab at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Australia.
The purpose of the lab visit was to undertake collaborative research, specifically using a rodent model of physical exercise, which is inaccessible at my institution, to complement my human studies. During my visit I gained a plethora of specialised skills including rodent behavioural testing and analysis, dissection and neuroanatomy as well as immunohistochemistry.
I also had the opportunity to network with Dr Spencer’s lab as well as other colleagues at RMIT which was particularly useful during this stage in my career. The results gained from my visit at RMIT will form the concluding chapter in my PhD thesis as well as future paper publications. Additionally, as part of the ongoing collaboration, I assisted Dr Spencer’s lab in establishing a method for DNA methylation analysis using techniques I have expertise in from the MMU.
Overall, the experience of the lab visit was extremely beneficial for my research. Furthermore, the invaluable skills and networking undertaken during my time there will support my future career aspiration of becoming an independent researcher.’