University of Dundee

Lynne Cairns

I gained my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Glasgow in 2009. During this time I obtained lab experience not only during my Honours project, but also by undertaking a six week summer project between my third and fourth years of study. The experience I had encouraged me to pursue a career in research. After spending 22 years living in the Glasgow area I decided (with a bit of mild persuasion from my supervisors!) to move elsewhere to continue my studies.

In October 2010 I graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Obesity and Related Metabolic Disease. While I enjoyed the experience after getting over the initial culture shock, I realised a few months into my masters year that this wasn’t necessarily the field I wanted to do my PhD in, and so started looking at the other options. I decided to apply to the Wellcome programme in Dundee because of the excellent reputation which the College of Life Sciences has in research. The facilities are of the highest standard and all easily accessible, with experts on hand to offer advice. Everyone is friendly, sociable, helpful and interested in the work being carried out throughout CLS. For me the rotation year is beneficial in opening my eyes to other research areas out there that I hadn’t considered, as well as allowing me to pursue topics which I’ve had a keen interest in since my undergrad. In that regard, the superseminars have so far been invaluable.

At the time of writing this, I’m one month into my first rotation in Nicola Stanley-Wall’s lab in the Division of Molecular Microbiology. My project involves using FACS analysis and microscopy to gain further insight into how the phosphorylated response regulator DegU-P and the phosphatase RapA are involved in biofilm formation by Bacillus Subtilis. Despite being a completely new field for me, I’m really enjoying the experience so far!