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The University of Southampton
EngineeringPostgraduate study

Elisabetta Bottaro PhD

Current student

Elisabetta Bottaro's Photo

I chose to study at Southampton because it is one of the leading UK universities in engineering. It offers numerous state-of-the art and advanced facilities, and these are helping me to achieve my research goals.

Why did you choose to come and study at Southampton?

After undertaking my MSc in Italy, I decided to move to the UK in order to start my research career. I chose to begin a PhD degree in Bioengineering Sciences at the University of Southampton, because it is one of the leading UK universities in engineering, and the project also involves the participation of an interventional medical company.

Can you provide a summary of the research you are working on within your course?

My project deals with the production of vasculature-on-a-chip models. They consist of small microdevices replicating the in vivo structure of a vascular network. Models will be employed by the pharmaceutical industry as an alternative to traditional animal testing for the development of novel drugs and advanced personalised medicines.

How have the facilities available at the University helped you with your research? Which facilities have you used/ do you use regularly?

The University offers numerous state-of-the art and advanced facilities, and these are helping me to achieve my research goals. For instance, I use microfabrication facilities at the Zepler Institute in the Optoelectronics Research Centre and the Bioegineering Laboratory for the production of microdevices mimicking the structure of the vascular system. With the regards to the biological aspects of my research, I use the facilities available in the University’s General Hospital.

What is it like studying here?

The campus offers numerous possibilities for personal development. I often use the Hartley library as it has a large selection of books and is also a good place to focus on your work.

What have been your Southampton ‘highlights’ so far?

I really appreciated all the PhD training sessions organised by Engineering and the Environment. They were extremely useful, not only as an opportunity to improve my personal research skills, but also to meet other PhD students. Creating networks between researchers and sharing ideas is indeed fundamental in this field.

What other activities have you taken advantage of while at University?

I am a member of the Women in Engineering Society, which aims to support women in Science, Engineering and Technology. I am involved as a volunteer in public engagement projects in schools across the UK, where I speak with pupils about my research work and ambitions.

What are you enjoying most about your course?

Bioengineering combines principles of applied physics and medicine to generate engineering solutions to solve medical problems. I love the idea that you can design and create innovative healthcare equipment to change peoples’ lives.

Do you have any idea of what you would like to do in the future? Have the opportunities you have taken up while at the University helped you have a clearer idea of what you might like to do?

I love the academic environment, and I hope to continue to work in this field. I particularly, like the idea that we are trying to transfer knowledge to our successors with the final aim to improve the existing body of knowledge. 

What advice would you give to prospective University of Southampton PhD students?

Doing a PhD is a choice of life. If you have a passion for research and teaching, and the aspiration to discover and learn new things, this is the right path for you.

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