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Can you briefly summarise your role within Chester Medical School
As a demonstrator I deliver lectures and support teaching in laboratory sessions for both undergraduate and postgraduate modules.
As a laboratory technician I oversee the health and safety requirements within the laboratories at Bache Hall, carrying out essential maintenance on laboratory equipment and prepping for upcoming practical sessions. I am also a qualified Phlebotomist and regularly practice venepuncture for MSc dissertation and research projects undertaken at Chester Medical School.

What is a typical day for you? 
A typical day for me varies quite drastically as I cover the laboratory support needs for both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research!

If I’m working with the Undergrads, I’ll spend some time prepping for the upcoming practical followed by supporting the session which typically lasts 3 hours and end with clearing up the materials and equipment used at the end. If I’m working with the Postgrads, specifically for dissertation I’ll spend some time going through the principles of the technique we’ll be covering and going through the protocol they’ll be following to ensure they understand it. Depending on the technique we may be in the labs all day!

What is your favourite part of your job?
I enjoy teaching students’ new techniques in the labs and helping them with their data analysis. It’s great to see the students learning new skills and applying their knowledge to complete their dissertation projects. As I cover a wide range of topics/programmes I get to learn more about their research areas as we progress through the project.

What advice would you give to an undergraduate student attending their first practical session?
- Listen to the instructions at the beginning of the practical, sometimes its tempting to switch off because it may feel like a lecture, but important information is usually relayed at this point.

- Ask as many questions as you need to understand the practical and what’s going on. We won’t know if you’re struggling unless you tell us!

- Write notes around the practical guidelines, these will help when it comes to writing up the lab report or for exam preparation. 

What is your favourite piece of equipment in the research laboratories?
My favourite piece of equipment would have to be the flow cytometer. It’s capable of analysing single cells and give information on their size, granularity and fluorescent tags, which means it gives you a bucket load of data in a relatively short amount of time! The flow cytometer we have at Bache Hall is easy to use and parameters can be set so you can leave the machine running while you continue work elsewhere.

If you could have a superpower what would it be?
The ability to fly would be my choice, I’d be able to get from Bache Hall to Parkgate Road Campus and back a lot quicker!

How would you summarise your Chester story?
A learning experience! I started off as an Undergraduate studying Biomedical Sciences in 2010 and after completing an MRes here in 2015 I was employed at the University as a Lab Technician full-time and studying for a PhD part-time. It’s safe to say I’m still learning every day not only from my colleagues and mentors but also from the students!

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Chester Medical School; research; practical skills undergraduate postgraduate

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