The industry experience I gained helped me secure a place on the NHS Scientist Training Programme

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Sarah French
NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) Genomics, The Sheffield Children's Hospital
Biochemistry and Genetics BSc | Human and Molecular Genetics MSc
Sarah was able to pursue her interest in genetics as part of her undergraduate degree, which she built on with a MSc in Human and Molecular Genetics. This included a 10 week placement with the pre-karyotyping oncology team at Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital, NHS Foundation Trust, and led to a place on the NHS Scientist Training Programme.
Picture of Sarah French

When deciding what course to do at university, I knew I wanted to study life sciences but I was unsure of what particular area to explore. This was why the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology department at Sheffield was a great choice for me as it has an incredibly flexible undergraduate course structure. During first year, we were given a broad insight to many aspects, from microbiology to molecular biology. This enabled me to fine tune my module choices to my interests as I progressed throughout the course, as a result, I graduated with a Biochemistry and Genetics degree.

Additionally, the undergraduate courses have a brilliant practical component. From first year, undergraduates have weekly laboratory sessions which complement the lecture series. I found this hands-on approach very engaging. This early commitment to equipping students with technical skills transferable to any research setting is what also attracted me to the department.

I am so grateful for the opportunities that were available to me within the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology department. These have allowed me to pursue my desired career path but more importantly continue to positively contribute to the progression of public health care.

Sarah French

BSc Biochemistry and Genetics

As a part of my degree, I was able to pursue my interest in genetics and take on a clinical diagnostics research project focused on leukaemia. This gave me the opportunity to be trained and to become competent in both conventional and molecular cytogenetics diagnostic techniques used in the NHS. It was this experience that encouraged me apply for the Human and Molecular Genetics MSc.

The lectures within the masters programme gave me an in-depth understanding of the ever-accelerating interplay between genetics and medicine. Whilst, the clinical research project gave me the opportunity to see this first-hand.

The practical training offered was to such a high quality that I was deemed competent by the standards of the NHS and selected to take on a 10-week placement with the pre-karyotyping oncology team at Sheffield’s Children’s Hospital. The placement allowed me to apply the skills learnt, as both an undergraduate and postgraduate, to positively impact patient outcomes. This invaluable professional experience in clinical genetics was essential to my success in being offered a place on the prestigious NHS Scientist Training Programme in genomics.

As a trainee clinical scientist, I am currently working towards becoming competent in both cytogenetic and molecular genetic techniques. Most recently, I have received training on the classification of variants identified through large-scale sequencing projects. Identification of pathogenic variants is essential for correct diagnosis but also for devising subsequent treatment strategies.

I am so grateful for the opportunities that were available to me within the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology department. These have allowed me to pursue my desired career path but more importantly continue to positively contribute to the progression of public health care.

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