BHF Student profilesWe recently asked a cross-section of our students the following series of questions related to their experiences within the BHF Centre of Research Excellence:

  • What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
  • Why did you choose Imperial College?
  • What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
  • What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?
  • What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?
  • What do you plan to do after you graduate?

Find out more by expanding their replies below:


2017

Simeon Draganov - A mass spectrometry and chemical biology approach to dissecting the molecular basis of tissue factor regulation...

Name and title of PhD

Simeon Draganov – A mass spectrometry and chemical biology approach to dissecting the molecular basis of tissue factor regulation via post-translational modifications of RNA-binding proteins

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I completed my integrated undergraduate Master’s (MSci) degree in Chemistry at UCL immediately prior to starting my MRes/PhD project at Imperial College.

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Imperial is a world leading institution when it comes to scientific research. It has an excellent reputation at home and abroad and provides researchers with access to outstanding facilities and international collaborations. It is home to diverse research groups that are at the heart of scientific and technological development and is truly the right place for a researcher who wants their work to have a widespread impact.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

I enjoy the independence that I have when it comes to deciding in what direction to take my project and what I should focus on next. The people that I work with are wonderful and are always willing to help whenever I am encountering difficulties.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

The research groups that I am part of are highly interdisciplinary and there is always somebody to ask for an advice when I am experiencing difficulties with my synthetic chemistry or biological experiments or when I need more knowledge about an area I am less familiar with. This really helps me save time when it comes to planning and executing experiments and surely saves me a lot of frustration and failed attempts that I would otherwise inevitably encounter. The laboratories where I undertake my project are well-equipped and have all the necessary tools/equipment to meet my research needs.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

The BHF studentship provided me with the opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary project as part of several research groups spanning across three different departments (Chemical Engineering, Chemistry and Medicine). I had the opportunity to meet people of many different scientific and cultural backgrounds and to make contact with scientists I could previously only dream of meeting.

As a synthetic organic chemist who had little prior experience in biological research, the interdisciplinarity of the project allowed me to get exposed to areas outside of chemistry that I haven’t had much experience with and thus vastly broadened my knowledge of biology, particularly in the cardiovascular field. I obtained many new skills and learnt different techniques often used in biological research.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I plan to stay in research. Ideally, I would like to stay in academia and pursue a post-doc position.

Liuba Dvinskikh - Video-rate volumetric light sheet microscopy for studying the interaction of induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes...

Name and title of PhD

Liuba Dvinskikh - Video-rate volumetric light sheet microscopy for studying the interaction of induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes with mature cardiac tissue.

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I completed both my BSc in Physics and MSc in Optics and Photonics here at Imperial.

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Imperial is a world leading university, with a reputation for excellence in research both within the fields of Medicine and Physics. It has a very international community and is home to world leaders in their fields.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

It is really inspiring to work with driven and brilliant researchers and I have really enjoyed the supportive atmosphere and community within the research groups that I have been involved with.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

Imperial offers access to excellent equipment and facilities and is situated in a beautiful and inspiring location within an incredibly vibrant city.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

It has given me the opportunity to further pursue my field of interest and learn skills within a range of disciplines.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I would like to continue working in research related to my field of interest – biophotonics.  Being able to develop and apply advanced biomedical optics to research in an area as important, complex and relevant as the cardiovascular sciences is both fascinating and rewarding.  

Callum Hay – Developing artificial cells for delivering drug molecules to micro-engineered heart tissue

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I completed my MSc in Chemistry with a year in industry here at Imperial. In my industrial year I worked within the fluid department of Schlumberger Gould research, utilising both microfluidics and rheology.

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Imperial is a world leading university, with a reputation for excellence in research both within the fields of Medicine and natural sciences. With key links to various industries, imperial offers a great many opportunities to early career scientists.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

As a keen problem solver, I enjoy the variety of tasks a multidisciplinary PhD presents. With the help of both my chemistry cohort and BHF group, I thoroughly enjoy the brainstorming of ideas and potential collaborations.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

Imperial offers access to excellent equipment and facilities. Additionally, it provides unparalleled access to hackspace areas where you can make your own equipment, if you are a keen hacker.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

The BHF center offers many useful lectures for early starters as well as a variety of enjoyable social events throughout the year.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

For me the pursuit of challenges is paramount, whether in industry or academia. I would like to be in a job the utilizes my flexible base in pure chemistry, fluid physics, coding and cell biology.

Miguel Páez Pérez – Imaging flow induced micromechanical changes in vascular endothelial cell membranes

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I completed my BEng in biomedical engineering at Carlos III university (Madrid).

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Because of its world-leading, interdisciplinary research, outstanding facilities and international environment.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

Having the opportunity to meet outstanding people who are always friendly and helpful, which builds a great working atmosphere.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

The availability of all kind of equipment and facilities, allowing us to focus just on what we want to get done.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

The freedom it gives to participate in an interdisciplinary project, plus excellent the support it gives us, crucial for a successful PhD.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I would like to continue working in academia, focusing on how mechanics can be used to diagnosis and treatment.

Alex Swan - Biophysical and structural characterisation of the interaction between the Popeye domain containing 1 (POPDC1) protein and small...

Name and title of PhD

Alex Swan - Biophysical and structural characterisation of the interaction between the Popeye domain containing 1 (POPDC1) protein and small molecule ligands - towards a treatment for atrial fibrillation.

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I was at the University of Bath completing an MSci in Natural Sciences.

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Imperial is a world leading university with a reputation for high quality research across both the physical and life sciences. I wanted to carry out research in a multi-disciplinary environment, and being at Imperial allows me to work with expert researchers in several fields.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

I enjoy regularly interacting with a wide range of researchers, including organic chemists, physiologists and medics. Imperial has a high proportion of international researchers so I also get to meet people from many different backgrounds.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

Having access to the brand new White City campus, including the new Molecular Sciences Research Hub. The fact that the laboratories are open plan and shared between research groups makes them pleasant and sociable places to work in.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

Events such as the BHF student conference and additional lectures have exposed me to research that falls outside of my own project. This has made me aware of what other BHF students are working on, and given me an appreciation of how basic science is relevant to the clinic.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I am currently planning on a research career in the field of chemical biology. I would also like to pursue my interest in how science is used in policy making decisions.

Astrid Stroobants – Insight into the functionality of the ETS transcription factor ERG using Molecular Dynamics

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

Prior to starting my PhD, I completed a Master of Engineering in Chemical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh.

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Imperial College London is a world leading university, recognised for its cutting-edge research and excellent scientific resources.  Being located in London, its allows for a vibrant and international environment.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

I most enjoy the inter-disciplinary nature of my day-to-day work which enables me to discuss my work with people from different fields (medicine, computational chemistry, biology etc.). Despite our different scientific backgrounds, we share a similar curiosity and passion for science.  My colleagues have been a great source of inspiration and motivation.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

During my PhD I have greatly appreciated the excellent computing resources provided by my computational lab as well as the very collaborative and inter-disciplinary research environment provided by my experimental lab. 

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

This studentship provides the opportunity to do interdisciplinary research by facilitating collaborations between departments, while also continuously encouraging the development of a wide range of transferable skills.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I am eager to pursue my passion for research in the field of computational chemistry.

2016

Liliana Brito - Enhancement of the epicardial paracrine potential for cardiac regeneration

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I finished my MSc degree in Biotechnology at Instituto Superior Tecnico in Portugal. After that, I was offered a 6-month period research internship at Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Madrid.

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Since my undergraduate degree that I hear about Imperial as one of the best universities in the world for STEM. Indeed, world leading research in different fields comes from Imperial. Since I want to be part of that and the dreams command life, I’ve decided to try my luck and I got it!

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

Imperial provides top level facilities and services. Also, Imperial offers many opportunities and support to students to develop their soft skills and potential ideas. It is a really open-minded environment and people are generally friendly. Moreover, I really appreciate the variety of societies and clubs that Imperial has. In my particular case, I restart dancing here, one of my life passions.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

I really appreciate the multidisciplinary and multicultural work environment that I have in the groups that I work. Moreover, the laboratories are really good. I believe that these aspects are going to be crucial for the success of my PhD.  

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

In my opinion, the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship is complete. First of all, the first year of MRes allows the students to get integrated in a new working environment and a new research project, reducing the adaptation period in the actual PhD time. Moreover, as part of this research centre we have opportunity to participate in the different BHF meetings and we are still able to go to other conferences with the provided travel funding.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I still have a long journey ahead until the end of my PhD. Therefore all options are on the table, but I want to pursue a career in cardiovascular research.

Charles Houston - An in silico model of action potential propagation, biologically validated in the HL1-6 myocyte cell line...

Name and title of PhD

An in silico model of action potential propagation, biologically validated in the HL1-6 myocyte cell line: A framework for characterising myocardial re-entry and fibrillation in the human heart.

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I studied an undergraduate MEng here in Aeronautical Engineering, including working for a year as a computational aerodynamicist in a Formula One team.

Why did you choose Imperial College?

The unique opportunity to work on a project at the intersection between multiple fields of research, which spans two departments that are not commonly linked.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

The range of expertise of the different people I get to interact with and learn from on a daily basis; from aeronautical engineers and mathematicians to cell biologists and electrophysiologists. I also particularly enjoy teaching and mentoring undergraduate students alongside my research.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

The opportunities available to expand the scope of my project; Imperial is brimming with ideas and enthusiastic researchers to collaborate with.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

The support network of my student cohort and the structure of the MRes/PhD program.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I will pursue whichever opportunity I feel will best challenge me to continue to grow and develop my knowledge and skillset.

Kai Riemer - Relation between blood flow and pro-inflammatory changes in arterial endothelium

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

Work: I was a research associate at the German Heart Centre Berlin working on the development of a novel heart valve.

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Reputation: I choose Imperial College because of its reputation for world class research.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

Culture of discussion: I enjoy the fruitful discussions with my colleagues.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

Opportunities: Through Imperial College I had the chance to visit Japan for a Summer School project.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

Support: The BHF Centre of Research Excellence supported me throughout the whole process. The BHF is always quick when it comes to solving problems.  

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

Future: I will continue to do research and work on my entrepreneurial career.

Fotios Savvopoulos - Mechanical characterisation of composite biomaterials by Brillouin Light Scattering

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I was in Greece, I completed a BSc in Mechanical Engineering and an MSc in Aeronautics at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Why did you choose Imperial College?

During my MSc degree I had the chance to use my engineering knowledge to biological systems so it was when I was first fascinated by the field of heart research. Choosing Imperial College for further training on this field was primarily based on my research opportunities. After all it is one of the best universities in Europe for applied research.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

What really motivates me is that I get exposed to different ways of thinking every day which makes me quite creative.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

I think it is its tolerance in diversity and the opportunities they give to students to entrepreneurial thinking

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

The opportunity to work in experts in the field and learn from them

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

Having all this experience from the BHF programme, I feel quite equipped for any future position. However, I am thinking of moving to an industrial position to work on medical device design.

2015

Mehwish Arshad - Developing new methods for chronically applying multidirectional shear stress to cultured endothelial cells

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I previously graduated from Queen Mary University of London with a MEng Hons degree in Medical Engineering.

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Imperial college London is a world leading centre for research excellence with a diverse and vibrant community. The university provides a platform for students to engage with world-known scientists to gain their expertise on various different research topics. 

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

People around the department are very friendly and helpful. There are many opportunities to connect and engage with people who might not necessary work on the same research topics as you through various different activities.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

Imperial has a breadth of societies and club on offer so there is a little bit for everyone here. The facilities at the department and the laboratories are excellent.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

I am very appreciative of having been granted the studentship as it is very well tailored to suit the needs of a new researcher. It also provides the platform to conduct cross-disciplinary research among leading scientist in their respective fields.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I would like to take the skills I gain during my time at imperial to industry and be able to apply them to solve different research problems. However I am keeping my options open of staying in academia after my PhD.

Oleg Karpov - Identification of endogenous protein kinase substrates relevant within cardiac apoptotic events

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I studied Medical Biochemistry at University of Leeds, graduating with BSc and MBiol degrees.

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Imperial is one of the only institutes in the UK which is a leader in regenerative cardiology research.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

Everyone at Imperial is very professional and they are always open to potential collaborations.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

I like that we have all the necessary equipment and reagents to carry out some of the more complex procedures and experiments.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

The fact that all the BHF students come from different backgrounds, making up a diverse cohort of researchers.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

Graduation is more than 3 years in the future so I have no idea yet.

Angela Yiu - The roles of non-circular RNA in myocardial infarction and doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

MSci and BA in University of Cambridge, specialising in Biochemistry

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Because it is one of the top research institute in the world, and also that’s where my dad did his studies too.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

The friendly environment and atmosphere and the diversity in backgrounds of colleagues, both cultural and scientific.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

Availability of world-class research equipment and facilities

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

The cross-disciplinary aspects, as it allows us to learn about collaborations and research across different areas of science.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

To continue in research

Samata Pandey - Humanisation and novel formats of the low density lipoprotein binding antibody LO1

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I completed my BSc in Biomedical Sciences at Imperial prior to beginning the BHF programme.  

Why did you choose Imperial College?

Imperial is a top university globally and therefore provides the unique opportunity to interact with world-class researchers within my field. 

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

I enjoy the enthusiasm that students, post-docs and professors share for their research. Despite the challenges of working in a lab environment, having this enthusiasm and being able to call your colleagues your friends makes it a great place to work!  

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

Imperial is a STEM university and therefore makes collaboration within departments very easy. Furthermore, being a top university it has some great equipment. 

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

An interdisciplinary project has allowed me to be exposed and learn techniques that I may not have learnt otherwise. The studentship also provides a consumables and travel budget aiding my ability to carry out my research to a high standard.  

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

Upon graduation, I hope to take up a post-doc in cardiovascular research.

Carlo Biffi - Modelling the effects of genome-wide variation on the cardiovascular system using machine learning and MR imaging

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?

I did a Bachelor and a Master of Science in Physics at the University of Milano-Bicocca (Milan, Italy).

Why did you choose Imperial College?

I  chose Imperial College because of the very interesting and unique project I am currently working on, and also for its excellent worldwide reputation for scientific research.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day-to-day work and the people you work with at Imperial?

I really enjoy working in a challenging and motivating multidisciplinary environment with outstanding scientists.

What do/did you most appreciate about the laboratory/faculty/College?

The high quality of the equipment and the amazing facilities available to researchers.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence studentship?

The possibility to work for my PhD on a real cutting-edge multidisciplinary project together with worldwide experts.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?

I plan to continue to work in a stimulating environment as I do now and to have the opportunity to tackle new intellectually challenging problems every day.

2014

Arianna Ferrini - In vitro modelling of human congenital heart disease

Title of PhD project
In vitro modelling of human congenital heart disease

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I got my BSc and MSc in Medical Biotechnology at the University of Florence (Italy) with a six-month placement at Queen Mary University of London. Before starting my PhD I did a post-grad research placement at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge (UK) with a European scholarship.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I chose Imperial College London because it is one of the best universities in the world for science and technology and getting a PhD here was like a dream coming true to me!

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
I think all researchers would agree that working in a lab is challenging and demanding; however, I also think is one of the most rewarding careers in the world. I really enjoy planning and carrying out my experiments, troubleshooting and analysing results. Another aspect I am grateful for is the possibility to chat and ask for advice and feedback to other lab members with different backgrounds and different expertise. This, together with the chance to use the best state-of-the-art equipment, is what makes the BHF Centre of Research Excellence so great.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
As I already mentioned, the possibility of talking with so many different people that can help you and support you is definitely one of the things I appreciate the most about my lab, my Department and in general about Imperial College London. Moreover, it’s a very international environment, which makes everyday life even more interesting!

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
I feel very lucky to have a BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship. First of all, it is undoubtedly a very generous scholarship. Moreover, not all scholarships have extra travel and consumable funding like we do and this is another very good aspect.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
After completing the MRes, I’m in the first year of my PhD so I still have two more years to come and a bit of time to think about my future career choices. However, I think I would like to move on to a postdoc position and stay in academic research.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
My advice for prospective students is to be prepared for the first MRes year, which is going to be quite intense but extremely useful; when you’ll start your PhD you’ll already feel comfortable in your research field and with the people around and this will make everything easier. Then, just try to make the most of all the opportunities we have and do not let “a bad experiment day” discourage you: they will happen but doing a PhD is a great thing despite them!

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
Being part of Imperial College London allows you to be involved in College activities such as joining a society or doing some tutoring and this is a great way to keep a good work-life balance!

Worrapong Kit-Anan - Cardiac regeneration using conductive polymer scaffolds

Title of PhD project
Cardiac regeneration using new 3D conductive polymer scaffolds

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I was doing my Bachelor degree in Nanoengineering with a focus on mechanics. After graduation, I pursued my Master in bioengineering (Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering) over here at Imperial College.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
Imperial College is one of the best and most renowned universities in the world where I can work at the forefront of biomedical innovations. It also provides a truly international environment both academic and social life.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
People at Imperial College are fantastic. They support each other in a very special way both science and moral.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
The Centre stays as a big group of research consisting of scientists and clinicians. This creates an opportunity to work and learn from different aspects.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
The studentship is well designed to suit a new researcher to join the scientific world. There is also support with various activities to broaden knowledge and start new collaborations.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I would like to stay in science as a scientific consultant where I could be a problem solver who helps universities and companies with my specialist knowledge.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Passion and focus.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
London is great and exciting town to live and look for a culturally enriching study experience.

Alice Sheehan - Development and application of molecular dynamics protocols

Title of PhD project
Development and application of Molecular Dynamics protocols to account for the interaction of Troponin with selected ligands with potential to reverse the pathogenic effects of HCM causing mutations

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I worked as a research associate in the Conklin lab at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Research, San Francisco.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I choose Imperial College for its exceptional reputation as a world leader in cardiovascular research and research training.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
I enjoyed the shared enthusiasm and lively atmosphere of innovation that I see every day in the lab areas.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
The welcoming atmosphere and general helpfulness of the research faculty with regard to discussions about my project and troubleshooting issues.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
I think that the multidisciplinary approach of the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship is the most valuable aspect of this training programme as it allows for the development of a more well-rounded researcher with regards to one's thought process and mastery of skills.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
A postdoctoral research fellowship.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
To meet regularly with their assigned supervisors.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
I have received many opportunities to network with my peers and researchers within and outside of my field of research while attending Imperial organised lecture and workshop events.

Konstantinos Tzortzis - Susceptibility analysis of atrial substrate to arrhythmogenesis

Title of PhD project
Susceptibility analysis of atrial substrate to arrhythmogenesis using a patient-specific ensemble computer simulation

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
Before I came to Imperial College, I was studying BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Democritus University of Thrace in Greece.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I chose Imperial College for my postgraduate studies, because it has an excellent reputation for high impact of knowledge that is produced in a variety of medical and technological fields, it is home of many world-known scientists who also teach in this university and because Imperial College graduates are known to have many job opportunities, as a result of the adequate preparation throughout their studies.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
I mostly enjoy the friendly environment within Imperial College, and especially in NHLI. The university lets scientists work unbothered and provides all the facilities and the means that are necessary for the application of ideas and the production of innovative knowledge which can be applied for the improvement of treatments and prevention of diseases.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
The thing that I appreciate the most while working at the section of Myocardial Function in NHLI is that all scientists, students and group leaders work all together as a real team and with passion, in order to achieve remarkable progress in the cardiovascular sciences.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
The opportunity to discover scientific fields, i.e. Computing and Mathematics in my case, that I wasn’t very familiar with during my academic career, and understand how the same problem can be faced from a completely different point of view.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I will continue working on cardiovascular science because it is a scientific field that really interests me. I would like to work as a post-doc in the pharmaceuticals industry, in order to gain experience on that field apart from the academia.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Be focused on your goals and be open-minded. All the necessary tools to achieve our ideas are kindly offered. We only need to work in a smart way and intensively.

2012

Shweta Agarwal - Biomineralization process in cardiovascular calcification

Title of PhD project
Characterization of human mineral and biomineralization process in cardiovascular calcification

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
Before coming to Imperial, I graduated with Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland with First Class Honours and was undertaking an Advanced Bachelors Course in Cardiac Function in Health and Disease at Utrecht University, Netherlands.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
Imperial is one of the top universities in the world, making it highly valued by the employers around the globe. The sheer diversity of world-class research expertise at Imperial makes it a truly desirable place for graduate studies hence honing my investigative creativity as I begin my career.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with?
The work environment at Imperial is not only friendly but also motivating. Being a part of the expert scientific community always inspired me to think outside the box. It entails truly challenging and a desirable environment, which I believe, is helping me towards my professional goal of becoming a successful researcher.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
Imperial has world-class facilities and having easy access to them is truly amazing to gain cross-disciplinary hands-on experience within science, engineering and medicine. This has helped me in developing several collaborations, not only enhancing my scientific knowledge but has also improved my interpersonal and transferable skills.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship is very prestigious scholarship. Being recognised by BHF studentship has given me the confidence to not only foster my academic growth but also to challenge myself to reach higher goals in life. The financial support has been extremely important to help me pursue my studies at Imperial and become a part of one of world’s best scientific community.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I plan to pursue my career in research. I am also open to the idea of being involved in industry with an interest to work as a healthcare research consultant or in research and development sector.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
I would advise future applicants to think well ahead of time when applying for this studentship. Since, it is highly prestigious, competitive and provides generous financial support, it attracts several applicants across the globe; so, when writing your application, be passionate and let your personal voice come through.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
Outside my PhD, I have been involved in various activities including teaching, management and travel clubs. I won the Best Healthcare Business Plan Prize as a team at Biotechnology Young Entrepreneurs Scheme sponsored by GSK, an innovative competition developed to raise awareness of the commercialisation of bioscience ideas among early career researchers. I am also volunteering as a general support for UK-India activities at Need for Nutrition Education/Innovation Programme (NNEdPro) Group, University of Cambridge.

Alex Cornish - Analysis of disease non-synonymous SNPs from a network perspective

Title of PhD project
Analysis of disease non-synonymous SNPs from a network perspective with applications to cardiovascular disease

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I completed an MPhil in Computational Biology at Cambridge University.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
Its status as a world leading university and because I get to work with some of the best scientists in my field.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
I enjoy both the challenges that emerge from our research and the chance to collaborate with people with different expertise to my own.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
Its collaborative nature and the fact that it is located in the heart of London.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
The travel allowance that it comes with. It has allowed me to attend conferences in Germany, Ireland and the USA.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Continue my research in a postdoctoral role.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Find an area of your subject that you really love, as you could be researching it for the next 3-4 years.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
The many societies at Imperial College, including the Underwater Club.

Hakim-Moulay Dehbi - Association between air pollution and cardiovascular health

Title of PhD Project
A multi-pollutant approach to investigate the association between long-term exposure to air pollution and cardiovascular structure, function and events

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I did a Masters in Biostatistics at UCL. Prior to that, I worked for three years as a strategy consultant at Roland Berger.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
For its reputation and the possibility to do an MRes as part of the programme at the BHF centre.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
It is very rewarding, and challenging, to work with some of the best people in my field. It's guaranteed to learn something new every day.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
Imperial facilities are excellent. The material conditions to do world-class research are there. This makes life easier.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
The possibility to do cross-disciplinary research.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Clinical trial statistician, in an academic institution.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Be prepared to be challenged and to work outside your comfort zone.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
I love sport. The Ethos Sport Centre is just amazing.

Maeve Elder - Protecting cardiac mitochondria from modern targeted cancer therapies

Title of PhD Project
Understanding and protecting cardiac mitochondria from modern molecular targeted cancer therapies.

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
MSc Natural Sciences degree in Synthetic Organic Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences at University College London.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I liked the postgraduate programme and the flexibility of the course.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
The facilities and the expertise.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
The equipment.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
It gave me the flexibility and the freedom to create the project I wanted to do.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Continue to do cardiovascular research.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Choose a project you love.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
Travel to conferences, I have participated in international programmes with students from all over the world for example during the Imperial-MIT Global Fellows Programme.

Yumnah Mohamied - Pulsatile blood flow

Title of PhD project
Pulsatile blood flow: Implications for wall shear stress, mass transport and atherosclerosis

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
Completed an undergraduate integrated Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering (MEng) at Imperial College. Commenced the PhD straight after graduating.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I enjoyed my undergraduate experience at Imperial and didn't feel inclined to change to a different institute. I had known my PhD supervisor during my Master's project, so upon receiving the BHF scholarship it was a natural progression. Imperial is a world class institute for research, and its excellence as an academic institute with world class facilities and thinkers was a strong factor to stay, as well as being able to stay in London.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
I enjoy most the variety of work every day, and the independent autonomous nature of a PhD. On a technical note, I most enjoyed solving the small day to day programming challenges that arose. Being able to work in a multi-disciplinary group has also been highly rewarding. Being exposed to different projects and research and working with people from multiple backgrounds who have different approaches to you.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
I most appreciate the facilities available both research facilities and also with regards to the breadth of clubs and societies on offer.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
Being able to work on an interdisciplinary project and having the opportunity to do so by means of the BHF studentship. There is also a lot of support in the first year (of either MRes or PhD) in terms of broadening background knowledge on subjects never before studied. Furthermore, the studentship allocates travel money for conferences which is very appreciated.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
After a bit of time off travelling, I'm interested in the possibility of a post-doc in Europe or America. I'm also keeping my options open to small engineering companies or start-ups.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
I'd recommend reading around possible areas of interest even though you don't need to know what area you want to actually do your PhD project in for the application. It helps to get a feel of cardiovascular research and where your skill set will be most useful, which in turn will make you more prepared for interviews and informed about the type of project you choose if successful.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
Being at Imperial allows you to get involved in many extra-curricular activities that interest you because of the breadth of options available to students. I have been involved in the committee for the Speakers for Schools Plus project, which is a social outreach project set up by PhD students.

Ali Rheeda - Mathematical modelling of cardiac arrhymthias

Title of PhD Project
Mathematical modelling of cardiac arrhythmias: clinical data and mathematical modelling

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
Before starting my PhD, I did my undergraduate studies at Imperial in the Department of Bioengineering. I also took a year off between undergraduate degree and PhD when I worked in investment banking.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
My final year undergraduate project was based on a simple computational model of cardiac excitation. During this time, I worked with PhDs from the Electro-Cardio Math group.
When I received the BHF bursary, I was keen to continue working in that group.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
When I joined the group, there were two other PhD students in the years above, who were also funded by the BHF CRE. We supported each other through the PhD and are now really good friends!

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
Being part of the Department of Bioengineering, it was always amazing to learn about the different types of research that goes on.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
I think the best part of the BHF CRE is the opportunity to be part of an inter-disciplinary team. At Imperial, I was a member of three departments (Bioengineering, Aeronautics and Medicine) and worked very closely with the clinical team at Hammersmith hospital which resulted in many beneficial collaborations.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I plan to stay in academia and will be starting a post-doc position in April 2016.

Konstantinos Vanezis - Endogenous regulation of NO in cardiac development

Title of PhD project
Endogenous regulation of NO in cardiac development, function and disease

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I joined Imperial College London during the academic year of 2011-2012 to attend the MSc in Molecular Medicine prior to beginning my PhD training. The year before, I worked as a research assistant in Dr Alexander Meissner’s lab at Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I initially chose Imperial College as a prospective Master’s student. The program of MSc in Molecular Medicine was the ideal program for me as it combines lectures with actual laboratory work. Also, during lectures, I had the opportunity to come in contact with a variety of research fields, an opportunity that made me more confident to pursue a PhD in Cardiovascular Science.
Also, Imperial College has a strong reputation all around the world as one of the leading research universities in Medical research. Finally, the fact that Imperial College is in London, an international hub of students, made it even more appealing to me. After completing my MSc program, it was clear to me that I would like to undertake my PhD program in such an excellent environment.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
During my PhD program, I joined Dr James Leiper’s and Dr Enrico Petretto’s lab. The lab atmosphere was really social and I had the chance to work with a variety of international scientists. Also, in Dr Leiper’s lab, I had the privilege to get input on my work from scientists coming from different scientific backgrounds, making me realise how an experiment can be seen from different perspectives. Finally, I really enjoyed discussions during lab coffee meetings as I got to make some good friends in London.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
In the lab, I really enjoyed the freedom that I had in pursuing my goals, as Dr Leiper provided strong guidance but took into consideration a lot of my input. From the Faculty/College, I really appreciate that they appointed the right mentors to guide me through the program (Dr Irene Miguel-Aliaga and Dr Jimmy Bell) and provide useful comments when needed.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
The most valuable aspect of the studentship is that it was a personal award giving me the opportunity to find the right supervisor and the right topic for my PhD program. Also, since I joined an interdisciplinary course, the studentship gave me the opportunity during my work to bring together different fields of science.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
After my graduation, I will start working as a Postdoctoral Researcher in Dr Stuart Cook’s lab in the MRC CSC and continue pursuing a career in science.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Just to be yourself and to not be afraid of the competition surrounding this studentship.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
I had the opportunity to attend various conferences and meetings arranged by the BHF, which gave me the opportunity to present my work for the first time in front of a relevant audience. Also, living in London I attended a variety of cultural events.

2010

Kok Yean Chooi - Transport properties of the arterial wall

Title of PhD Project
Transport properties of the arterial wall

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I was an exchange student at ETH Zurich studying on their Masters in Biomedical Engineering course. My exchange year was the final year of a four-year MEng in biomedical and mechanical engineering.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I chose Imperial College for its reputation as a leading research university in bioengineering. The funding available from the BHF for an MRes / PhD was another important factor. Being in London was the 3rd factor. UCL was the other London college where I had an offer but I rejected it based on the quality of facilities I saw when I visited.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
The most enjoyable aspect was learning new research skills and techniques from others coming from a wide range of specialities from all across the College.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
Lab: generally cooperative atmosphere
Faculty/department: plenty of opportunities to develop skills outside of research e.g. teaching, public engagement, presentation... Also plenty of interesting choices in graduate schools courses.
College: collaborations crossing faculty boundaries possible and encouraged; networking opportunities; location.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
BHF CRE studentship has expanded my skill set as a medical research scientist, building on the physical sciences and computing skills I brought in from my undergraduate engineering degree. This enables me now to apply for jobs as a truly interdisciplinary researcher.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Get a job as a research scientist in translational medicine in either industry or academia. Eventually, I see myself going to technical consultancy in medical technology.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
If you enter the Centre as an engineer or physical scientist, try to truly embrace the biological sciences. It might be more comfortable to stick to what you know but working at the interface of biology and engineering is the growing trend in medical research.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
Being in London, you get to enjoy the benefits of living in one of the cultural capitals of the world. Continental Europe is not that far away either.

Nataly Maimari - Framework for the inference of atheroprotective gene regulatory networks

Title of PhD Project
Inductive-Logic Programming driven framework for the inference of atheroprotective gene regulatory networks

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
After completing an Immunology BSc at UCL, I undertook an MSc in Computing Science at Imperial College. Through this MSc and the immersion in world-class research that it required, I began a studentship with an Imperial professor affiliated with the BHF Centre of Research Excellence. From this, it naturally led into applying for the BHF studentship, one of the best-supported studentships in the UK.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I was strongly drawn to become an Imperial student, as Imperial College has the global reputation, inter-disciplinary resources and strong ethos, for enabling and encouraging its students to be at the heart of groundbreaking research. I was further impressed that Imperial was not limited to only ‘blue sky research’, but also strongly focused on providing research (and training) that sought significant ‘real world application’. Hence I knew being an Imperial graduate, would give me a reputation as someone who could compete in almost any sphere, anywhere.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
On a daily basis what I enjoyed most, was that Imperial College is quite literally a microcosm of the entire world. It became commonplace to work alongside fellow students and staff from incredibly diverse national and professional backgrounds. It was quite simply an intellectually and culturally enriching place to be at. There was a feeling of mutual respect, whether I was brainstorming a technical problem with a senior professor, or training a freshman student.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
The Bioengineering department was a widely multi-disciplinary and mutually supportive environment. This allowed me to easily garner several different perspectives, and a wide range of practical support for the research I was carrying out.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
The BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship was valuable in many ways, but perhaps its greatest value lay in the doors it opened to me. It allowed quite incredible opportunities to work directly with world-renowned experts. This was of immeasurable value to my professional and personal development.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
After I graduate, I am fortunate to be able to take some time to reflect and gather my thoughts. Having a multidisciplinary PhD from Imperial provides just too many exceptionally interesting and high impact options for where I can go next (both globally and professionally).

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
The tips I have for future BHF Centre applicants is to be open minded about what research they want to pursue. In many ways, it is the process, rather than the final content/results of a PhD project that matters most from the student’s perspective.

And that is why I cannot stress strongly enough to consider how well matched you are in terms of personality, temperament, organisation/work style to the supervisor and group you are considering working with. You will be spending a minimum of 3 years as a PhD student with that research group. No matter how interesting the research might be you should have no doubts about your ability to enjoyably and functionally work with a given supervisor/group.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
I have had many benefits outside of my PhD while at Imperial. I have made friends with some quite diverse and interesting people, both from within my research group and outside it. Often not directly related to my project, in the later years of my PhD, I’ve had the privilege to teach and practically supervise a number of BSc and MSc students. And it’s given huge satisfaction, pride and relief to see students I’ve been involved in supporting, achieve their qualifications.

Vikram Mehta - The role of blood flow and mass transport in plaque formation

Title of PhD Project
The role of blood flow and mass transport in plaque formation

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
Before coming to Imperial for my PhD, I completed a research internship with Lein Applied Diagnostics where I worked towards the development of a blood glucose monitoring device that used laser technology to measure glucose levels through the eye lens. Previously I completed my MSc in Biomedical engineering at Imperial as well.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
To be a part of one of the top universities in the world and challenge myself to achieve a PhD at a leading department of bioengineering. And of course, being in London is an added bonus.

What did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
The thing I enjoyed most would definitely have to be the diversity and highly intellectual mix of people you work with. My research group consisted of people from at least 11 different countries.

What did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
In addition to being able to learn from and meet leaders in your field of research, having access to state of the art facilities, the family like the Department of Bioengineering makes it a special place to be a part of.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
Considering my interests in the cardiovascular field of research, the cross-disciplinary nature of the BHF CRE studentship allowed me to pursue my research goals and provided the platform to achieve my doctorate. I will always be thankful to the BHF for funding my research.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Have a clear understanding of your research goals/ PhD project at the beginning, find ways to motivate yourself in rough times and use the expertise around you to reach your goals. And of course enjoy the journey.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
The experiences and challenges of the PhD journey will equip you with a range of highly sought after skills to choose your career path of choice in the future. Graduating from Imperial College will present you with the vast opportunities of academia, industry or entrepreneurship and the perfect platform to succeed in your career.

Kyasha Sri Rnajan - Differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells into myoblasts

Title of PhD Project
The role of cell-cell adhesion during differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells into myoblasts

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I came to Imperial as an undergrad student in 2007 right after completing my A-levels and the stayed on to do my MRes and PhD.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I believe that Imperial facilitates world class research by incorporating the latest technology and resources. It's also in the heart of London close to everything. It's been a great experience studying at Imperial.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
I worked in two groups that incorporated state-of-the-art techniques and were extremely friendly and collaborative. I think many aspects of my work were enjoyable, from the research I did to the colleagues I shared my time with.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
The location is excellent together with the fact that Imperial really makes an effort to keep up with technology and introduces the latest trends into our lives. I think that really makes the difference.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
The BHF studentship facilitated my research at Imperial amongst the leaders in their fields. It generously funds students and also provides a travel bursary that allows one to build impactful collaborations.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
I did my undergraduate degree in Bioengineering and I'd like to go out there and use that knowledge.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Be confident and motivate yourself to believe in your research. Imperial and the BHF will back you the whole way through! I have met some fantastic people while I was a BHF-funded student who were very intelligent but also extremely warm and friendly.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
I have got involved with Imperial's Outreach public engagement activities, done graduate teaching and attended numerous conferences that were both educational and fun.

Caroline Roney - Model to predict onset of alternans and ventricular arrhythmias

Title of PhD Project
Developing a mathematical model to predict the onset of alternans and ventricular arrhythmias

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
Before coming to Imperial, I was studying for a degree in Mathematics at Oxford University.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I chose Imperial College because of its excellent reputation for scientific research and its great location.

What did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to work with Nick Peters' lab. They taught me a lot about cardiac electrophysiology, including giving me the opportunity to undertake lab work during my MRes and to work closely with both basic science and clinical researchers. I also enjoyed co-supervising undergraduate research projects.

What did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
I most appreciated the support of my supervisors and lab groups in NHLI and Bioengineering for my MRes and PhD research.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
I valued the opportunity that the BHF Centre studentship gave me to undertake interdisciplinary research and to transition from a mathematician to a bioengineer in cardiac electrophysiology. It also gave me the opportunity to present my work at both medical and engineering conferences and has set me up well for my future career.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
It's an excellent opportunity to use your skills and develop new ones, so learn as much as you can and make the most of the opportunities available at Imperial College

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
I have made some lifelong friends.

Elisbeth Storck Saha - Targeting Rho GTPase prenylation in pulmonary hypertension

Title of PhD Project
Targeting Rho GTPase prenylation in pulmonary hypertension

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I gained my undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow, achieving an MRes in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry. During my studies, I spent six months working in industry, and six months on an academic placement at Imperial College.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I loved every minute of the time I spent at Imperial during my undergraduate degree placement. When I found out about BHF's PhD programme at Imperial the decision was easy - it gave me the opportunity to pursue cardiovascular research on the interface of chemistry, biology and medicine, in one of the world's top universities.

What do/did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
I've been fortunate to do my PhD in a large group that actively encourages collaboration and exchange of ideas. I love the "buzz" of the lab, and the excitement that comes with making new discoveries.

What do/did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
The facilities are top-class, as is the research and the environment is very supportive. I took a year out toward the end of my PhD to start a family, which wasn't an easy decision, but my supervisors and the BHF Centre were incredibly supportive. Also, having lived all over the world when I was growing up I really appreciate the international diversity of College.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
The diversity of people I have met. In my year we had students from different backgrounds, including biology, mathematics and chemistry. The studentship also gave me the opportunity to get directly involved with the BHF, and through my PhD I was able to attend or contribute towards various events including fund-raisers and the BHF annual open day.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?
Definitely stay in research, probably starting with a post-doctoral position. After that, I'll decide whether I want to stay in academic research or venture into industry.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
If you think the program is for you, then do apply! I was almost thirty when I joined the programme with a background in chemistry rather than biology. Do gain some hands-on research experience beforehand, perhaps through a summer placement. Once you start, then make the most of the MRes year to learn lab techniques so you can hit the ground running when your PhD commences.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
Living in London is very exciting indeed. There is always something to do or see, and new people to meet. As I mentioned above I also had the chance to get directly involved with the BHF.

2009

Susann Bruche - Novel regulators of contractility revealed by a RNAi screen

Title of PhD Project
Novel regulators of contractility revealed by an RNAi screen

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I studied Biochemistry at University of Leipzig, Germany.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
The quality of research and attractive studentships.

What did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
Very friendly, collaborative and international working environment.

What did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
A lot of different equipment and facilities available to help your research, especially the great Imaging Facility (FILM) with very helpful and friendly staff.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
Becoming part of the BHF Centre gave me the opportunity to join great BHF meetings and symposia, not just as a participant, but as a presenter and even organiser of student-led BHF symposia and to interact with world-class cardiovascular scientists.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Imperial College is a vibrant student community with lots of great clubs, societies and events.

Tommaso Poggioli - Regeneration of the mammalian heart with cell and gene therapy

Title of PhD Project
Regeneration of the mammalian heart with cell and gene therapy

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
Before starting my MRes/PhD at Imperial College London I completed an MSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics at Universita Roma Tre in Italy and a Bachelor Degree in Biology in Rome and Madrid.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
Imperial College offered me the opportunity to work with the best researchers worldwide and its interdisciplinary structure was a unique chance to interact with scientists from different backgrounds such as engineering and medicine. After an initial visit at Imperial College, I immediately realised the high quality of the scientific facilities and structures available in the College.

What did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
People working at Imperial come from all over the world with curiosity and strong willingness to explore new opportunities. Day to day, this was a great motivation for me to perform well, research and create new collaborations.

What did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
Working in the lab at Imperial is inspiring and fun, thanks to the high-tech facilities available. The College has numerous sport and recreational facilities, which are ideal for developing extra-professional skills.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
I was very impressed by the multidisciplinary nature of the studentship, which allowed me to work on my research project in collaboration with different departments. The BHF Studentship opened my mind to the possibility of doing science with researchers from completely different professional backgrounds.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
I would recommend doing a thorough research on the potential scientific projects available at the BHF Centre and to be prepared to discuss scientific ideas to develop during the BHF Studentship. If you receive an offer, work hard and be focused. I realise now how great the BHF studentship has been for my personal and professional development.

Anusha Seneviratne - Monocyte subsets and macrophage subpopulations in atherosclerosis

Title of PhD Project
Characterization of monocyte subsets and macrophage subpopulations in atherosclerosis and vulnerable plaque formation

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I completed a BSc in Biomedical Sciences at Imperial College.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I chose Imperial because of its strong international reputation for medical research and its excellent supportive network for students.

What did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
I found the working environment very enjoyable, everyone I worked with was very supportive and helpful.

What did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
I think the lab facilities were excellent and the College gave us a lot of support to not only develop our scientific skills but also our transferable skills.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
I enjoyed being part of collaborative partnerships across different departments and faculties which allowed us to gain knowledge and skills across different disciplines related to cardiovascular science.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Make the most of your opportunities to create contacts with numerous researchers from a variety of disciplines so that you can broaden your knowledge.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
Completing my PhD at the BHF Centre helped me to gain my current position as a post-doc researcher in the Vascular Sciences division at Imperial College.

2008

Eugene Chang - New model for action potential propagation in the myocardium

Title of PhD Project
Towards a new model for action potential propagation in the myocardium – a discontinuous, multi-cellular approach

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I completed an MSc in Mathematics at Imperial College London directly before entering the BHF CRE program in 2008.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I was already at the university and wanted to learn about doing research - the BHF CRE gave me the opportunity to do so at my alma mater.

What did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
I enjoyed the variety of each day in research, be it interacting with lots of researchers and students from a multitude of backgrounds with different skill sets, learning and using different research techniques, working across the different Imperial campuses, or getting involved in departmental teaching and social activities

What did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
I enjoyed my time at the university and my home department generally and enjoyed the interdisciplinary culture fostered by my PhD supervisors. I liked that the postgraduate community at Imperial was very international and this led to an open-minded and welcoming dynamic in both my department and in my research groups.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
The opportunity to become a multidisciplinary researcher through regular interaction with other BHF CRE students and staff, many of whom I am still in regular contact, both as friends and professionally.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Embrace the cross-disciplinary experience, turn up to as many talks and lectures as you can, and do not be afraid to ask questions.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
I set up the Imperial College A Cappella Society and led and organised several foreign tours with The Techtonics, the Imperial College All Male A Cappella group of which I was a founding member at the beginning of my time in the BHF CRE.

Niti Dhutia - Practical real-time operator guidance system for cardiac ultrasound

Title of PhD Project
Developing a practical real-time operator guidance system, based on automatic image quality evaluation, for high throughput multimodality cardiac ultrasound

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
I undertook my MEng in Bioengineering at Imperial College.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
Imperial is well known for its high-quality and high-impact research, and I wanted to be a part of this community. Additionally, during my undergraduate at Imperial I had the opportunity to do a summer research internship in the department, which further reinforced my desire to pursue my PhD here.

What did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
I particularly enjoyed the inter-disciplinary nature of my day-to-day work, where I got to work alongside clinicians and sonographers. As an engineer, this is a rare opportunity and it is a very insightful and interesting experience. It was very exciting to be developing technology that would make a difference in medicine and to be able to see this first-hand.

What did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
I appreciated that the College offered and encouraged us to take transferrable skills courses during our time here. Courses such as 'Presentation Skills' taught me things which I have continued to use through the years. The lab and faculty provided continuous support and encouragement throughout the PhD.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
I most valued the opportunity to work at the intersection of medicine and technology in cardiology - an upcoming and increasingly important area of research. In addition to this, the studentship involved weekly talks from various members of the BHF on different topics in cardiology which allowed us to broaden our knowledge of different aspects of research outside our own speciality. Since the group consisted of people from various backgrounds, these sessions often sparked interesting discussions from different perspectives - as was the case in our regular journal clubs.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
For me, it was very useful to have an idea of the kind of research I was interested in, and discussing this with academics in the field before applying.

Raymond Lao - Endothelial colony-forming cells and idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension

Title of PhD Project
Endothelial colony-forming cells and transforming growth factor-β superfamily signalling in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
BSc in Pharmacology and MRes in Biomedicine at UCL.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
There were several factors that prompted me to choose Imperial College. Firstly, it has one of the best cardiovascular research networks in the UK, the field that I had set my sights on during my undergraduate study. Secondly, its location in London- one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the world, and its reputation as one of the world best universities were certainly other main factors that drew me to join.

What did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
Although scientific research is always a bumpy ride with a periodic cycle of highs and lows, I have always enjoyed thinking through and tackling the research questions critically. It was also gratifying to be working with enthusiastic colleagues who shared the same passions- the scientific discussions we had were always very fulfilling.

What did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
I think one of the best things in pursuing postgraduate study at Imperial College is their top-class support for its postgraduate students. There was a wide range of workshops to help us to develop useful transferable skills, while the student facilities and the student societies/events have helped to ensure that it was not just all work and no play!

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
The support from the BHF Centre has been invaluable to my PhD journey. Firstly, the weekly lectures during the first year were comprehensive and useful for me to understand the different aspects and the latest advances in the cardiovascular field. Secondly, the staffs at the Centre have been very supportive throughout my PhD journey. Thirdly, being one of the Centre-awarded students mean that I got to bond with other fellow scholars that were outside my host lab. We regularly organised social activities and have even hosted a Postgraduate Symposium to encourage the exchange of ideas with other BHF Centres in the UK.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
Come to the open day or arrange a visit to the College and the Centre so you can learn about the different aspect of researches being conducted here, and whether those aligned with your interests. Be sure to convey your interests in cardiovascular research and what makes you the perfect candidates among the thousands of other applicants during your application. Be prepared to be able to talk about your previous research critically and explains why you want to pursue a PhD.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
I have obtained a post-doc position in the BHF Centre in King’s College London to further my academic career in cardiovascular research.

Claire Potter - Relationship between fluid forces, cyclo-oxygenase expression and endothelial cell function

Title of PhD Project
Relationship between fluid forces, cyclooxygenase expression and endothelial cell function: implications for cardiovascular health and disease

What were you doing before coming to Imperial?
Before attending Imperial I studied for an MSc (Hons) degree in Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry at the University of Nottingham. This was an interdisciplinary course jointly taught by the School of Chemistry and the School of Biochemistry as I have always valued this style of teaching.

Why did you choose Imperial College?
I was primarily attracted by the unique interdisciplinary programme offered at Imperial but I was also drawn to study there due to the excellent reputation of the researchers there and the fact that it is based in the dynamic city of London.

What did you enjoy most about your day to day work and the people you work with at Imperial?
It was great to work with such inspiring people with such enthusiasm for their work. I also enjoyed working with people from a range of cultural backgrounds which presented a learning opportunity in itself.

What did you most appreciate about the Lab/Faculty/College?
The thing I appreciated most about the College was the opportunity to collaborate with so many people that were so advanced in their respective fields. Frequent meetings and presentations in several departments really helped me to develop ideas for my project.

What do you most value about the BHF Centre of Research Excellence Studentship?
The additional funding year for the Master's course was really beneficial. The lectures allowed for a good grounding in cardiovascular science before starting my PhD and informed me in making my final project choice. They also provided perspective into the potential important clinical relevance of our work. The lab project rotation allowed me to learn a range of techniques which I was then confident to incorporate into my PhD studies.

Do you have any tips for future BHF Centre applicants?
I would definitely recommend applying to the BHF Centre. Hopefully, potential candidates are really enthusiastic about advancing our understanding of cardiovascular disease. There is such a range of techniques and new technologies being pioneered at Imperial and this is a great opportunity to be at the cutting edge of research.

What opportunities have you benefitted from outside your PhD?
I had the opportunity to attend both national and international conferences to present my work. Networking helped me to secure my PostDoc at King’s College London BHF Centre.