University of Dundee

Alistair Davies

I gained my undergraduate degree in Pharmacology with Industrial Experience from the University of Manchester in 2011. Unlike a lot of other PhD students, I came straight from my undergraduate studies to Dundee to study my Ph.D. without undertaking a Master’s degree. Instead, I obtained the majority of my laboratory experience during a 13 month placement I undertook between my 2nd and final year of study working for the German pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, based at their oncology research centre in Vienna, Austria. During my time spent in Austria, my work focussed mainly around the pharmacology of apoptotic resistance to chemotherapy observed in many cancer cell lines. I continued along this theme during my honours project, where my research centred on improving understanding behind the interaction between apoptotic proteins and mitochondrial lipids during apoptosis. As is often the case, I had well and truly caught the research bug and wanted to continue towards a career in research.

My decision to study for a Ph.D. in the College of Life Sciences at Dundee was not a difficult choice to make. Having been in the fortunate position to see research from both an industrial and academic view point, the level of professionalism and the sheer calibre of science in the CLS were obvious from the outset. Moreover, the college is not only equipped with leaders in their field and cutting edge equipment but also an experienced scientific community that thrives on collaboration and building a friendly environment. Having been awarded a position on the Wellcome Trust 4-Year Scheme, this has allowed me to sample areas of research which I would never have normally considered, and ultimately allow me to make an informed decision about where I want to carry out my Ph.D.

It is worth not forgetting that Dundee has a lot more to offer than just a leading site for biological research. Having lived in a city for most of my adult life, it is such a joy to be so close to the sea and beautiful countryside surrounding Dundee, with the possibility of weekend activities almost endless!

As I write this I am coming to the end of my first rotation in Jason Swedlow’s lab in the Wellcome Trust centre for Gene Regulation and Expression. My project involves the use of fluorescent microscopy and biochemical techniques to characterise the role of a protein thought to be involved in double-strand break repair.