Biomedical Sciences

Student Blog: Maialen

Maialen shared with us why she chose to study BSc Neuroscience at the Deanery of Biomedical Sciences.

Maialen - Neuroscience student

Hi, I am Maialen! I am an Honours Neuroscience student from the Canary Islands, Spain.

Why Neuroscience?

When applying to university, I already knew I wanted to go into Neuroscience, but I chose Biomedical Sciences to have to chance to learn about a wider range of topics. The courses and topics that have interested me the most have always been Neuroscience-related, so I specialised in it just before starting 4th year.  

What is your favourite specialism?

I am extremely passionate about learning and memory. The lecturers that I have had throughout my degree, but especially the course Neural Circuits for Learning and Memory that I took last semester made me realise this. Developing my knowledge about the topic taught me that diseases that affect memory, such as dementia, are poorly understood, and it is heartbreaking to see a near relative or friend slowly deteriorating due to such conditions. That is why I would like to go into research about how the brain works and communicates during memory processes, and how this can get damaged or deteriorated with diseases/age, with the final aim of finding treatments for patients with these conditions.  

Best thing about your summer project?

It was very rewarding to have the opportunity to see and experience how a lab works, and how the daily life of a scientific researcher looks and feels like. The summer project definitely solidified my will to go into research after finishing my studies. It also provided me with the chance to widen the potential paths to undertake after finishing my undergraduate programme. I would like to thank Dr. Jian Gan, who has always closely supported me since I started coming to the lab. The summer project also made me realise how much the projects which Dr. Jian Gan works on interest me, and finally provided me with a place to carry out my Honours project. The summer project was also the perfect excuse to spend a lovely summer here in Edinburgh.

Top tip for applicants who wish to apply for the summer project

I would strongly encourage every Biomedical Sciences student to try to find a summer internship, as it is very enjoyable and will give you insights on whether you would like to go into research in the future. My top tip for applications would be being yourself, and making sure that you choose a summer project which actually interests you. Make sure to explore the options out there before making a decision, as many lab supervisors are willing to help you, and will be willing to give you the amazing opportunity of working with them!  

Can you share about any societies/clubs that you have been involved or your hobbies?

I have been part of the Edinburgh University Cheerleading and Dance Club since my 1st year. This has probably been one of the highlights of my university experience, due to the many benefits of practising sport, but also due to the friends that I have made and the experiences that the club has provided me with. I would strongly recommend anyone starting uni soon or already being part of the uni to get themselves involved in a club or society as this was a life-changing experience for me.  

In your opinion, what has been the best thing about 4th year?

The Honours project has definitely been the best thing about my last year as an Undergraduate student. The experience of being in a lab is a clear insight into the life of a researcher, and I really enjoy it.

Thank you for your sharing!