Getting a taste for academia

Dental School building
Chris Platis
Undergraduate Student
Intercalated BMedSci Degree
Project title: Targeting HOX-PBX Interactions in Head and Neck Cancer

When did I do my BMedSci

I started my BMedSci in 2014, after my 2nd year of the BDS course.

My project

My project focused on a group of developmental genes known as the Hox genes and explored their role in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. I specifically investigated the consequences of inhibiting the essential Hox cofactor, Pbx, and sought to determine whether this has potential as a targeted anti-cancer therapy. This project required a range of research techniques including cell culture, qPCR, Western blotting, cytotoxicity assays and flow cytometry.


During the BMedSci year I presented my research in progress to the staff and students of the Dental School at the Friday lunchtime speaker slot. Since then, I have also presented my findings as a poster at the Guy’s Hospital INSPIRE event.

What I gained from my BMedSci

The BMedSci has been a great opportunity to get a taste for academia; it can be seen as a chance to independently explore a topic of interest in depth, and gives you the freedom to direct your own research project. In addition to learning the laboratory skills necessary for scientific research, I have also developed transferable skills such as critical appraisal, academic writing and time management. Furthermore, working in a laboratory is a sociable experience and gives you the opportunity to both learn from and teach a number of different people - an experience that has improved my ability to communicate relatively complicated information.

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