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PHATS goes large !

Physiological Society student joins the PHATS team

5 June 2017

Sonia in lab with Holly

We’re thrilled that the Physiological Society has awarded 3rd year Abertay Biomedical Science student, Sonia Cieplinska, a summer scholarship to work with us for eight weeks. These studentships are very competitive and are only awarded to students who are gaining high grades. They are intended to give undergraduates midway through their degree programmes a chance to work in a physiology lab to gain skills and experience that they wouldn’t normally get during their degree.  We’re especially pleased that Sonia won one of these awards because she’s a young mum and this studentship is providing her with the money to cover her childcare costs. It’s really important that people with childcare responsibilities are given these kinds of opportunities because nursery fees and the time required to look after children can be barriers to gaining experience and career progression, particularly in science subjects that require you to be in the lab during core working hours.

Sonia will be working with us to understand more about blubber structure in grey seals, and how the different cell types present relate to the genes that are switched on. She will be learning how to prepare thin sections of blubber mounted on slides for histological studies, and then use the slides to measure cell size, count the number of cells, and identify which cell types are present. Of course we’re expecting there to be lots of fat cells, but fat is more complicated than that, and there may be blood vessels, nerves and immune cells there too.  Sonia will also learn how to extract RNA, and use it to measure which genes have been activated. This will let her investigate how well the number of cells of different types maps to the level of expression of their cell-type gene markers.  

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