Cindy Bei completed the Summer Studentship at the University of Reading under the supervision of Dr Vimal Karani.
Project Title: Interactions between TCF7L2 and MC4R gene variants with dietary factors on Type 2 Diabetes-related factors in the British population.
About the project:
Statistical analysis on a study cohort to investigate the interaction between TCF7L2 gene variants [aka: single nucleotide polymorphisms] (rs12255372 and rs7903146) and MC4R gene variant (rs17782313) and dietary factors on Type 2 Diabetes related factors, in the British population.
What was the best aspect of your Summer studentship experience?
Being able to create my own work plan towards the project and getting the chance to experience what research is like.
What was the most challenging part of your studentship?
Overall my project wasn’t particularly challenging, but having to learn all of the basic and advanced knowledge so quickly in a short amount of time was hard.
What’s the one thing you learnt that is transferable to future work you might do?
Creating and delivering a presentation to professionals and non-professionals was an experience, especially translating complex science into simple lay-man’s terms.
Tips for anyone who is interested in applying for the NS – SS or a similar fellowship:
Use this opportunity to learn and experience as much as you can. 8 weeks (or however long other fellowships may be) isn’t that long, but it is long enough to learn some excellent skills that would be useful in future work: in industry, academia or charities. What you learn depends on what you want to learn.
Would you be interested to do more research in the future and if so what topic(s) would interest you?
I’m definitely going into research. As for the topic, I’m especially interested in the gut microbiota-brain axis, especially seeing the influence of diet on the gut microflora and subsequently, mental illnesses like depression or anxiety.
The Nutrition Society (NS) offers a unique funding opportunity to a limited number of students to undertake a research project during the summer months. The Summer Studentship Series is a collaboration with six students that took part in the 2016 NS Summer Studentship (NS-SS). I decided to ask everyone a couple of questions related to their projects and general experience, in an attempt to give you an idea of the variety of projects we completed and the interesting elements of each project. My hope is to inspire more students to do research and provide useful information and tips for those who may be interested in applying for the NS Summer Studentship or other similar research projects. I firmly believe research is the way forward in nutrition and I hope these series inspires more of you to get involved in research projects. This year’s Nutrition Society Summer Studentship application is now open and you can find it here.