Marta is in her third year on the CDT. Having studied chemistry in her undergraduate degree, her training within the CDT has allowed her to shift her research into a biological setting, where she studies  novel  MRI  techniques  to  diagnose  and  treat  cardiovascular  disease.

I started  here  in  2014.  After graduating from  the  University of Oxford with a chemistry degree, I had limited awareness on the ways chemists could impact  advancements in medical imaging. The first year of the  CDT was spent studying for an MRes in Medical Imaging at  King’s  College  London,  which  I  really  enjoyed.  The   year provided me with a strong foundation for various imaging   techniques.   Teaching   wasn’t   confined   to lectures – it also had a strong emphasis on laboratory work.  For  example,  working  with  my  cohort  during  a  2-month  group  project  emphasised  the  need  for  a  multidisciplinary approach.

Changing Focus

In  addition,  I  was  able  to  have  a  taster  of  my  chosen  PhD  in  the  form  of  a  3-month  research  project  where  I   synthesised   functionalised   gold   nanoparticles   for   theranostic  purposes.  These  experiences  led  me  to   change my PhD project to one with a greater biological  orientation, which I wouldn’t have been able to do before  having  studied  for  my  MRes. 

The  CDT  management   and  staff  were  helpful  in  giving  me  the  opportunity  to  change  my  project  to  better  suit  my  developing  academic interests. My  PhD  project  involves  the  development  of  a  new  magnetic   resonance   imaging   (MRI)   technique   to   understand  the  pathogenesis  of  atherosclerosis.  The  project has already provided me with a large portfolio of  new  technical  skills,  for  example,  the  use  of  Matlab  for image processing, running of the MR and confocal scanner as well as a more hands-on approach in the lab.

Developing new skills

The CDT has provided me with an opportunity to grow as a scientist as well as a person. Thanks to the cohort system  I  have  made  friends  with  students  across  the  different  years.  Having  a  support  community  in  place  has helped overcome inherent challenges of a PhD. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this  CDT. So  far  I  have  developed  skills  essential  for  a  scientist  and  I  look  forward  to  advancing  these  in  the  coming years.

Marta’s project  clearly  demonstrates  the  advantages  of  bringing   together   supervisors   from   different   institutions and with different expertise to enable a  new  generation  of  PhD  students  to  perform  cutting edge interdisciplinary biomedical imaging science that would not be possible otherwise.Medical Imaging EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training- (Supervisor, Professor René Botnar, King’s)