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STUDENT LIFE AT ROTHAMSTED

SOFIA IQBAL

“Being a PhD student at the world’s oldest agricultural research institute, which is at the forefront of science and innovation, is a great place to start a career in research. I really benefit from the weekly visiting speakers and seminars on-site, as well as the regular training in a variety of disciplines from data analysis to thesis writing and everything in-between.”

STUDENTSHIP SUMMARY

LOCATION:

Rothamsted Research - Harpenden

WORKING TITLE OF PHD RESEARCH:

‘New opportunities to investigate insecticide and acaricide ion channel targets through differential interactions with novel chemical agonists’

AREA OF RESEARCH:

Pesticide resistance

YEAR OF STUDY:

3rd

STUDY PROGRAMME:

BBSRC Nottingham Doctoral Training Partnership

UNIVERISITY:

University of Nottingham

FUNDER(S):

BBSRC; Bayer Animal Health

INTERNAL SUPERVISOR(S):

Mr Martin Williamson; Dr Emyr Davies; Professor Lin Field

EXTERNAL SUPERVISOR(S):

Dr Ian Mellor, University of Nottingham; Dr Andreas Turberg, Bayer Animal Health

SOFIA'S STORY

I came to Rothamsted for a placement as part of the BBSRC Nottingham DTP, and, of the 3 placements, I decided the project in insect molecular biology suited me best. My research is aimed at developing models to understand pesticide interactions and resistance. Most insecticides and acaricide used by pet owners to control parasitic arthropods act upon specific ion channels within the insect/tick/mite's own nervous system. My research seeks to exploit the increasing availability of protein sequence and molecular structure data for these channels, and combine this with available information on specific residues within the proteins that are involved in chemical selectivity and/or resistance. This work will help us to understand how pests are controlled by or become resistant to pesticides.

Being a PhD student at the world’s oldest agricultural research institute, which is at the forefront of science and innovation, is a great place to start a career in research. I really benefit from the weekly visiting speakers and seminars on-site, as well as the regular training in a variety of disciplines from data analysis to thesis writing and everything in-between.

SOFIA IQBAL

As I also experienced PhD life at a university, one of the things that I really like about Rothamsted is resource allocation and the amount of guidance and support available to you from post-docs. Having a dedicated internal supervisory team is invaluable in terms of support, and the regular meetings provide a sounding board for new ideas and to check in on my progress. The ongoing assessments and end of year reports are a really good way of collating my work, and having a viva means I am always questioning the direction and scope of my research.

The social life at Rothamsted is fantastic- much better than I anticipated! I joined the Rothamsted Sports and Social Committee in my 1st year, and went on to become social chair in my 2nd year. We’ve thrown some amazing parties in the last few years and the student group socials are always well-attended and great fun.