In2Science helps young people from low income backgrounds progress to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers with the aim to not only improve social mobility, but also encourage a more diverse and inclusive culture within the sector. We work by leveraging the STEM community to host bespoke two-week work placements, matching students with active researchers in academia and industry. In2scienceUK coordinators also provide all the students with university access workshops and careers guidance.
The decision to begin a PhD is probably one of the biggest you’ll ever make in your career. A significant step up in both scope and expectation from undergrad, the prospect can at first seem a little daunting.
By Dr Shane Hegarty, University College Cork, Ireland
The brain is responsible for our experience of, and acts as the interface between, the self and the outside world. Everything we think, feel, remember and dream is written by a precisely-interconnected community of approximately 100 billion brain cells. Have you ever wondered where the different types of neurons in our brain originate from? Or how these brain cells then find their way to connect with other cells, up to a metre away in our body? These answers can be found in the developing brain, which arises from the microscopic, but miraculous, embryo.
Creation of our brain
Very early in human development, the embryo consists simply of three fundamental cell layers: outer ectoderm (becomes outer-body parts e.g. skin/hair/teeth); middle mesoderm (develops into muscles, bones and blood vessels); and inner endoderm (forms our inner-body compartments e.g. gut/lungs). That’s most of our body covered, but where does our brain come from? Continue reading “Getting connected with our brain”
By Benjamin Simpson, Shenfield High School, Essex, UK
When I arrived at the lab, the first thing I noticed was how casual everything was. Even the principal investigator arrived at about 11am. I expected to find a strict regime of when to arrive, what to do and what to wear. Anna and Nikki were my supervisors in the Attwell lab at University College London. My project involved using zebrafish to investigate the development of myelin (a substance which is wrapped around neurons to increase conductivity). Zebrafish are especially useful because they are transparent allowing us to view the development under a microscope without harming the fish or embryo. On the first day of my placement they were only a few hours post fertilisation and so were still just a bundle of cells on a yolk. I learnt how to maintain the embryos through filtering out the dead ones and changing the water. Continue reading “Investigating zebrafish with in2scienceUK”