12th December 2023 – by Emily Herbert
My work experience at TwinsUK has been wonderful. I was incredibly nervous to start, especially because some of the tasks planned for me were things I had never experienced before – namely, research ethics, shadowing clinical visits, and working alongside very experienced scientists. However, from the minute I arrived, everyone was incredibly welcoming, kind, and supportive of me being alongside them in the department.
Over the course of my five days at TwinsUK, I have learned so much about what it is like to work in a scientific role. I have discovered roles that I didn’t even know were a possibility, and it has really opened my eyes to the variety of careers available.
During my first day, I had the opportunity to shadow visits with the twins in the clinic. I saw the huge variety of work that’s carried out and the different stages of the TwinsUK research programme. This included a variety of tests, including blood tests, memory exams, and bone density scans.
Throughout my week, I had the chance to speak to members of staff across different teams, learning about how the data is organised and analysed, as well as the research ethics that underpin all the work in the department. It was also really interesting to see how the logistics of sample collection work. Each person I spoke to was enthusiastic about their role within the team, and it was extremely helpful to learn about their career path and the work they do each day as part of TwinsUK. It was also extremely inspiring to listen to the researchers talk about the work they are doing, including the lecture I attended from a PhD student.
My last day was spent in the lab, the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is the TwinsUK research programme. I found it fascinating to see how samples are used and interpreted. Everyone in the lab team was encouraging and answered my many questions!
Sometimes it’s hard to think ahead to what careers might be possible for a particular subject, but this experience has been invaluable in understanding the wide range of possibilities within scientific research organizations like TwinsUK, which one day I hope to be a part of.
What struck me the most about everyone in the department was how connected and encouraging they are to one another. The work being done in the department is fascinating, and the relationship built with each set of twins is really lovely. It’s also amazing that the data is not only used for the incredible work within the department but is also shared with scientists worldwide.
I highly recommend TwinsUK as an inspiring placement for work experience. I have had an extremely enjoyable week, and it’s been everything I could have hoped for.