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The University of Southampton
ChemistryUndergraduate study

Placement experience: Camilla Black

Six month placement on the Neonuclei project at Southampton and Lund University, Sweden

I did my six month placement within the Neonuclei project, which includes several universities, two of which are Southampton and Lund University, Sweden.

In the first two months of my placement I worked with George Attard and his research group at Southampton before leaving for Lund University to work in the physical chemistry department. In George’s lab, I researched the transcription of DNA within liquid crystal phases. In short, this involved transcription techniques, freeze drying, and the production of stock DNA. I really enjoyed this part of the placement as the atmosphere in the lab was brilliant and I liked the science that was involved. I gained valuable skills from this work, as quite a lot of precision and organisation was needed, which I think was a good way to start off placement.

At Lund, I worked on measuring the zeta potential of dendrimer particles in order to characterise them. The placement research was quite different to the research I did in my third year as I didn’t have a lot of supervision. This was a little scary at first but after a while I enjoyed the freedom it gave me. I also presented our research at a conference in Malta, which was a great opportunity to gain valuable presentation and poster skills.

The social life in Lund was great; I made many friends and was surprised at how welcoming and helpful everyone was. The chemistry department also seemed to have a lot of guest researchers which was good as everyone was used to new visitors.

Overall I had a great time on placement and at the same time found it beneficial towards my chemistry experience. After applying for jobs, it is also apparent how impressed potential employees are with the amount of research experience MChem students have and their ability to work independently. I learnt so much on my placement and it’s a time that I will never forget.

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