PhD Student Profiles

The Centre hosts around fifty PhD students at any one time, with students working on a wide variety of research topics across the Centre. We recently asked our students what they like about the MRC Centre Studentship, what made them choose the Centre for their studies, and about their activities and achievements. 

The following were put to them:

  • What were you doing before joining the Centre?
  • Why did you choose the Centre?
  • What do you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with? 
  • What do you most value about the MRC Centre Studentship?
  • What do you most appreciate about the Centre?
  • What do you plan to do after you graduate?
  • Do you have any tips for future MRC Centre Studentship applicants?
  • What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?

Please click on a student below to see what they have to say.

Elzbieta Lauzikaite

Stage of study?

2nd year of PhD, I will have my Late Stage Review in Summer 2018.

What were you doing before joining the Centre?

I was working in biopharmaceuticals industry as a projects manager.

Why did you choose the Centre?

Having attended an MRes course at Imperial, Department of Surgery and Cancer, I knew a lot about the research taking place there. My main interest was metabolomics and this department is one of the leading institutions in the world in this field.

What do you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with? 

The opportunity to learn new skills and explore unknown territories. I was given a chance to take up research topics that were most interesting to me personally and such opportunities are rare outside of academia.

What do you most value about the MRC Centre Studentship?

Being an MRC-funded student enables me to participate in various MRC schemes and competitions, attend special events for MRC students, making me feel as part of a bigger community.

What do you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?

The opportunity to work on large-scale population studies, with incredible data and diverse research teams.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I wish to continue working in data science, further developing my coding and statistics skills, perhaps gaining some experience in industry as well. 

Do you have any tips for future MRC Centre Studentship applicants?

Discuss your future research project with supervisors in great details and make sure that its scope aligns with your expectations. 

Francesca Galea

Stage of study?

I am currently writing-up my thesis.

What were you doing before joining the Centre?

I worked as a chemistry teacher/lab technician in a secondary school which was fulfilling but not for me. 

Why did you choose the Centre?

When I found out about the studentship I knew I wanted to work in research again particularly at a world-renowned institution. 

What do you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with? 

Throughout my studentship I have had the opportunity to work with amazing people doing very varied and highly interesting projects – and this is probably what I’ve enjoyed the most, the chance to interact with and hear about other people’s work which quite often helped inspire my own.

What do you most value about the MRC Centre Studentship?

The scholarship also gave me the opportunity to attend a couple of great conferences, most notably the AACR General Meeting, and do training courses like Stats XP which I would not have been able to otherwise. 

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I am just starting a new job as an associate with a consultancy specialising in the use of data for healthcare and pharma. 

Do you have any tips for future MRC Centre Studentship applicants?

To future applicants I would say take advantage of the collaboration and networking opportunities that come your way throughout the course of your scholarship because these can really add value to your work and even possibly provide you with future opportunities.

Mary Brian
Stage of study?

I am a final year PhD student

What were you doing before joining the Centre?

Before coming to Imperial I was finishing my MSc in Toxicology at the University of Surrey in Guildford. I graduated from this in 2015 and started my PhD in October of the same year.

Why did you choose the Centre?

I chose to do my PhD at Imperial College London for a number of reasons. The college has an international reputation for academic excellence, so I knew I’d be working alongside talented scientists and learning from a wealth of research experience. I also wanted to be part of a research culture that values the use of innovative ideas to tackle global challenges. In addition, I was attracted to being in the hub of London and the diversity, culture and modern influences that come with living in such a large metropolitan city.

What do you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with? 

My PhD project has been predominantly lab-based, so conducting experiments, learning new ones and repeating a lot of them is what I really enjoy about my day to day work. It is great to have the camaraderie that exists within my laboratory, the importance of which cannot be underestimated for having a healthy work environment.

What do you most value about the MRC Centre Studentship?

The MRC Centre studentship has provided me with the means of interacting with a wide group of scientists from a broad range of disciplines (e.g. epidemiologists, clinicians, statisticians etc.). This interaction gives you as a researcher a wider picture of the different approaches being used that enable us to understand more about the environment and health.

What do you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?

Within my lab and department, I most appreciate the level of support and supervision that I have been given. This support has been instrumental in driving my PhD by: focusing my research aims, provision of regular feedback, encouragement to attend international conferences and a 3-month placement abroad and my personal development as an academic.  

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I have no definite plans of what I’ll do after I graduate, likely I will pursue a post-doc or go into another medical research sector.

Do you have any tips for future MRC Centre Studentship applicants?

Express why you want to do the research you’re applying for. The MRC Centre has a highly collaborative atmosphere, so learning how to communicate your own research and understand the research of others are both valuable assets and expectations of you as an MRC Centre student.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?

Outside my PhD I have established professional networks from Imperial College London, across Kings College London, in addition to MIT and the University of Salzburg in Austria. At an earlier stage of my PhD I was also a committee member of the researcher’s society and enjoyed going to socials at bounce (a ping-pong bar) as well as other trendy London spots. I also partook in the 2016 MRC festival, which meant I spoke to members of the public about the research going on in the centre in a fun interactive format.