Heya. My name is Malin Håkansson and I am a third-year neuroscience with psychology student from Sweden. I am currently a summer research student in the Aberdeen Spinal Injury Research Team.
Spinal cord injuries cause drastic lifelong changes for individuals which can greatly impact their quality of life and currently there is no “cure” for them. I am someone who enjoys problem solving and a good mystery, so as I was attending our lectures on Central Nervous System development and realized that the treatment for spinal cord injury is still a clinical riddle, I knew I wanted to join in and try to help work towards a solution.
Due to COVID-19 we could unfortunately not work in the institute for medical science (IMS) labs. Instead, our project is now a systematic review meta-analysis, focusing on reviewing and analysing previously published studies in order to evaluate if gene therapies can promote functional recovery in clinically relevant in vivo models of spinal cord injury. In combination with our project we have also been attending the team’s Journal club meetings where we present and evaluate scientific papers together.
This all has sharpened and developed my analytical and investigative skills, taught me about data analysis, as well as a furthered my understanding of how to evaluate research and scientific articles and data. All things which are going to be super helpful in our final year and general future.
This project has been made possible by the funding of Medical Research Scotland, University of Aberdeen HotStart Scholarship Programme, and University of Aberdeen Development Trust, Scottish Rugby Union. I am very grateful for this as this project has allowed me to meet some great people within the field and learn a lot from them, even in these pandemic times. Additionally, we have online lab meetings and “happy hour” zoom calls where despite our distance we have all been able to chat and hang out, making our social isolation more social.
So, all in all, it has definitely been a great experience so far.