I’m Anam,  a first year PhD student working under the supervision of Dr Andrew Lewis in the Department of Natural Sciences and in the Centre for Bioscience. Earlier this year I successfully obtained funding from the Turing Scheme to complete my PhD mobility abroad. Over the summer, I spent two months at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus working in the laboratory of Professor Patrick Gunning, whose work focuses on developing new drugs to battle aggressive forms of cancers.

This experience was incredible and provided me with the opportunity to learn new skills, expand my chemistry knowledge and grow as an individual. The internship involved assisting the Gunning group with their projects on drug discovery and proteomics  including working on the cancer drug Ibrutinib, an important treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. During the course of the internship, we were supervised by a dedicated post-doctoral researcher from the lab who taught us various new chemical methods and showed us how to work state of the art instrumentation used in modern drug discovery laboratories. A typical day involved working in the lab, setting up reactions and analysing compounds using 1H NMR and mass spectrometry. As well as this, we attended weekly group meetings which covered organic synthesis, chemical biology, and proteomics. In our last week, we presented our research to the group! It was a great learning experience to demonstrate my findings and receive feedback from experts in their field. Outside of the lab, we explored the city of Toronto where we visited Toronto Centre Island, watched the Blue Jays baseball team and even edge-walked off the CN Tower!  

I would highly recommend postgraduates to consider applying for the Turing scheme to enhance both their skills and gain an insight into how other universities work around the world. Since coming back to Manchester, I have incorporated some of the working styles implemented by the Gunning group to the Lewis lab. 

Check out @Lewislab_mmu on Instagram where we documented our time in Toronto! 

Anam received funding from the Graduate School to undertake part of her PhD in Canada. Find out more funding opportunities in the Funding section of Moodle.

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