Making a difference isn’t just about getting answers in the lab — it’s also about negotiating the structures that turn research results into reality. Jessie Hitchcock, a PhD student at the MRC/University of Birmingham Centre for Immune Regulation, is in the middle of an internship run by the Academy of Medical Sciences and the MRC. She tells us how she’ll be taking her new-found knowledge of science policy back to the lab.
For me, the best part of research is when it gets exciting — you get a completely unexpected result, or you finish that experiment your boss has been pestering you about for weeks and you suddenly realise why it was so crucial.
In my research, I study invasive Salmonella infections. These bacteria get into the bloodstream and kill around a quarter of children under two who are infected with them in Africa. To find out why so many children die, I look at what the infection does to mice.
Every little piece of data I get — from both experiments that work and from those that don’t go the way we would expect — leads me ever so slightly closer to finding out how Salmonella kills so many children in developing countries. I find it really exciting, and it’s great to see how science can make a big difference. Read more