Gargi Samarth was awarded the prize for her research into the effectiveness of using viruses to treat a currently incurable type of brain tumour.
The research found that the viral therapy, developed by the lab fifth-year MBBS student Gargi worked in, performed well in-vitro against paediatric glioma, a common tumour type.
Interested in Neurosurgery prior to coming to Imperial’s School of Medicine, Gargi has had the chance to explore both areas through the Surgical Society and Neurosciences Society, and credits the opportunity to undertake the BSc in Neurosciences as part of her six-year degree for allowing her to really explore the subject and sub-specialties within it.
Gargi said, “For the competition, I was required to submit an abstract and short summary of the work conducted, which was an area I had worked on as part of my BSc.”
Speaking of the Neuroscience course, she said, “It was an amazing experience! I was particularly drawn to this project because of the novelty of using viruses to treat these paediatric brain tumours”.
Gargi also took up chances to present her research, attending two international conferences in the past year: the European Association of Neuro-oncology (EANO) Conference in Stockholm, Sweden, and the Society for Neuro-oncology Conference in New Orleans, USA.
“Winning this competition has definitely increased my interest in this field. I’m an aspiring Neurosurgeon, and hope to eventually specialise in paediatric neurosurgery one day! My final-year elective will be in Neurosurgery, based at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia.”
“It was an absolute surprise to win! It’s always wonderful to have hard work and perseverance recognised – especially given the number of times my cells died during the 12-week project! It really draws attention to the work you have done, and hopefully inspires other to trial new therapies for this group of tumour.”
“I’d advise anyone considering applying for a prize or submitting an abstract for a conference to just go for it. It can always seem really challenging, but it’s a great opportunity to get your name out there. It shows you’re willing to go the extra mile, as well as commitment to your specialty, and is excellent for your future job applications.
“The Royal Colleges have a huge variety of prizes and competitions to look out for – all it takes to be part of it is a good idea and a free evening!”
You can see the published article here, and the research was also included in a publication from Imperial’s Division of Brain Sciences, where the research took place.
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