This weeks blog is written by our placement student, Marina, from Royal Holloway University London.

Hello, I’m Marina and I am going into my third year in Biomedical Sciences at Royal Holloway University of London. I am originally from Barcelona, Spain, and I have been living in England for the past two years. I look forward to a career in medical research as I have grown to understand the importance of innovations in research for the future of medicine and their improvements on patients’ lives.

I am looking forward to my three-week placement with the AKU Society, where I will be aiding with the literature review for a publication that will be published in September. Specifically, will be reading and summarizing papers published surrounding rare disease clinical research. This is an incredibly important skill in my degree, specifically for my upcoming third-year final project which I am excited to develop further. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, I will not be able to travel to Cambridge for this placement. However, I look forward to making the most out of this remote placement.

I hope that from my role and involvement with the AKU Society, I will be able to gain knowledge as well as experience that will aid me during my academic as well as professional future. I am also incredibly excited to read and learn about the patient-led clinical trials, DevelopAKUre, which is an innovative way to include patients in the future of medical research. The bright side of working from home is I get to gain new skills improving my time-management skills and ensuring that I am self-motivated.

Throughout my second year at Royal Holloway, I was the research assistant for a small charity named CORE (Center for Osteopathic Research and Excellence) Clapton. They aim to provide more concise and numeric data through research which demonstrates the benefits of osteopathic treatment specifically for pain management of patients who have musculoskeletal disorders. During my year at CORE, I was in charge of the statistical analysis, research paper gathering, aiding with writing literature reviews and organization of the numerical data.
I look forward to bringing to AKU the many skills that I acquired while working for CORE. My internship at CORE has furthered my interest in the interconnection between drug-administration and research and patient care as well as pain management.

Outside of my studies, I enjoy several activities that both integrate my academics as well as allow me to take a break from my studies. I am the media manager for the Biological Sciences Society at my university where I can be part of a community with like-minded individuals as well hold a role that differs from the tasks that are required from my degree. I am also part of the Mixed Martial Arts Club at the university where I train in Thai boxing individually and during club training times. Thai boxing has taught me a lot of discipline and has allowed me to stay active, which is such an important factor for both my mental and physical health. As a culturally diverse individual with family from Spain as well as the Caribbean, one of my favourite things to do is travel and experience the culture of others.

My interest in research has been in me since I was small when my Grandfather, a world-renowned surgeon who opened the first medical clinic in Freeport, Grand Bahama, would tell me about the innovations and effects of advancements in medicine. I am incredibly grateful to be able to take part in a three-week placement with AKU and take part, to some extent, in the future of medical research!