supplement schemeThe MRC Supplement Scheme is run for the benefit of Imperial MRC students and helps fund a wide range of research and training activities. Our recent awardees have let us know how they made use of their funding, see the profiles below to explore further, and find out how you too can benefit!

MRC Supplement Scheme awardees

Grace Barker - PhD Year 4 Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction (Faculty of Medicine)

What opportunity made possible for you by the MRC Supplement Scheme?
Attended 'The First Stellenbosch University African Microbiome Workshop and Symposium' organised by my collaborators.

Which category did your application fall within?
Exceptional training (fieldwork, courses etc)

Name of host/company
Stellenbosch University

What did you enjoy the most or find most valuable about this opportunity?
The highlight of my experience at the First Stellenbosch Microbiome Workshop and Symposium was attending highly engaging talks delivered by world leaders in the field. I was subsequently able to participate in discussions surrounding the topics covered, including how the challenges of microbiome research can be tackled, the importance of collaboration and how the field can be driven forward in the future. Additionally, meeting many collaborators face-to-face and visiting the site from which the human trial central to my research is run was an amazing privilege.

Theodora Constantin - PhD Year 3 Department of Surgery and Cancer (Faculty of Medicine)

What opportunity made possible for you by the MRC Supplement Scheme?
In vivo training for xenograft studies

Which category did your application fall within?
High cost training (in-vivo, imaging, bioinformatics etc.)

What did you enjoy the most or find most valuable about this opportunity?
Receiving supplementary funding through this scheme enabled me to acquire the set of practical skills needed for xenograft studies. It also allowed me to conduct animal experiments that were vital to my PhD studies. Importantly, I was able to get trained on using advanced non-invasive preclinical optical imaging techniques by experienced technicians and researchers at Imperial College. I strongly believe that this has widened my future career options within both academia and industry.

Kirsty Balachandran - PhD Year 3 Department of Surgery and Cancer (Faculty of Medicine)

What opportunity made possible for you by the MRC Supplement Scheme?
Attending Introduction to RNA-Seq and Functional Interpretation course at the EMBL-EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute)

Which category did your application fall within?
High cost training (in-vivo, imaging, bioinformatics etc)

Name of host/company
The European Bioinformatics Institute

What did you enjoy the most or find most valuable about this opportunity?
Through funding from the Imperial MRC supplement scheme, I attended the ‘Introduction to RNA-Seq and Functional Interpretation’ course at the EMBL-EBI. As a clinical research fellow entering the final year of my PhD and about to receive data from an RNA-Seq experiment, this course gave me an excellent overview of the software packages, analysis techniques and resources available to begin processing my own transcriptomic data. The course comprised a well-balanced mix of didactic lectures, practical sessions and group workshops, which was very effective. The teaching faculty were experts their fields, often developers of commonly used software packages or curators of relevant databases. There were ample opportunities for networking, both with other International delegates and faculty members. Overall, I certainly came away from the course with a much better understanding of the field and a clearer picture of how to approach analysing my own data. Importantly, I also feel much more confident in undertaking this part of my PhD studies now and have several bioinformatics contacts from the course who I could collaborate with in the future.

Charlotte Luff - PhD Year 1 Department of Brain Sciences (Faculty of Medicine)

What opportunity made possible for you by the MRC Supplement Scheme?
Training opportunity at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Which category did your application fall within?
Exceptional training (fieldwork, courses etc)

Name of host/company
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

What did you enjoy the most or find most valuable about this opportunity?
The most valuable part of my time as a visiting student at the Boyden Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology was becoming proficient in the in vivo automated patch clamp technique. I was given fantastic training from members of the lab that developed the technology and use of a patch-clamp rig to practice and collect data for my PhD.

Nora Schmit - PhD Year 2 School of Public Health (Faculty of Medicine)

What opportunity made possible for you by the MRC Supplement Scheme?
Course on Bayesian statistics

Which category did your application fall within?
High cost training (in-vivo, imaging, bioinformatics etc)

Name of host/company
PR Statistics Glasgow

What did you enjoy the most or find most valuable about this opportunity?
The course gave me an excellent introduction to Bayesian statistics, allowing me to better understand ongoing work and access further training resources on the topic in my department. It also helped me think critically about the planned direction of my PhD project.

Kitty Murphy - PhD Year 1 Department of Brain Sciences (Faculty of Medicine)

What opportunity made possible for you by the MRC Supplement Scheme?
Laptop accessories for remote working

Which category did your application fall within?
COVID-19 supplement

What did you enjoy the most or find most valuable about this opportunity?
Thanks to the COVID-19 supplement I was able to purchase laptop accessories that have greatly aided remote working, particularly as my PhD project is computational.

Marina Natoli - Writing up Department of Surgery and Cancer (Faculty of Medicine)

What opportunity made possible for you by the MRC Supplement Scheme?
Visiting Switzerland to attend Postdoctoral interviews

Which category did your application fall within?
PhD to postdoctoral transition fund (travel)

What did you enjoy the most or find most valuable about this opportunity?
Thanks to the MRC supplement scheme I was able to travel to attend interviews and secure a job at University of Basel, starting right after the end of my PhD. It has been a real privilege to have the support of the MRC at this critical moment in my career.

Sofina Begum - PhD Year 2 Department of Surgery and Cancer (Faculty of Medicine)

What opportunity made possible for you by the MRC Supplement Scheme?
A Bioinformatics Internship

Which category did your application fall within?

Placement or Internship

Name of host institution/company

Tohoku Medical Megabank Organisation

What did you enjoy the most or find most valuable about this opportunity?
This rare opportunity allowed me to join a Japanese group specialising in epidemiological metabolic profiling for 3 months at the Tohoku Medical Megabank Organisation, which strives to build a Japanese reference panel to aid research for precision medicine. I was working on a wide variety of data, integrating both genomic and metabolomic data, developing a novel pipeline for integration. The exposure to the techniques and access to the state-of-the-art Supercomputer, allowed me to develop invaluable skills as programmer and bioinformatician. The opportunity enabled me to build a network with an international organisation, and I am truly appreciative of this as the collaboration is ongoing.