Roxana Moscalu is a medical student at The University of Manchester who recently completed an MRes in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (TERM) as part of her intercalation year. Although she had no idea about the possibility of intercalating before she started university, she couldn’t be happier now that she decided to take a year out to explore TERM. Find out all about her intercalation journey below…
Choosing to intercalate in TERM
I didn’t know what an intercalated degree was when I started university, but the more I spoke to students from the years above me the more I discovered that it was something that I wanted to try. I was always keen on trying the academic side of medicine and getting involved in research, but didn’t have a clear idea of what my main area of interest would be.
That was, of course, until I found out about the MRes in TERM. What I liked most about it was its versatility and the wide area of medical specialities that it involves, from dermatology and urology to cardiology, plastic surgery, and neurology just to name a few. In addition to covering these areas, there was also the potential of taking part in the ground-breaking research that is currently being developed at The University of Manchester.
In the end, I chose to study TERM to find out more about this field, as well as get an introduction into how research is actually conducted. get laboratory experience and find out if research is truly something I want to incorporate in my future career.
The course content
I really enjoyed the course and learned some important lessons along the way. My favourite, and probably the most challenging part of the course for me, was the laboratory work. Every day brought a new challenge, a new technique to learn, or a new idea for improving my results. It was a continuous learning process that made me more and more invested in my work and that made me want to do as much as I can to get the best outcomes possible.
I had to learn everything from scratch as I had no previous experience in a laboratory, but my team were fantastic and supported me along the way. I knew I could count on anybody there for advice at any given time. This is also where I had to learn that nothing works as planned and you always have to adapt along the way; cellular work can be very unpredictable, and sometimes it is not your fault that things don’t work out. You just need go back to square one, rethink your experiments and keep trying.
Furthermore, I learned how to write an academic paper and the extensive work that goes into it. Having fantastic results is just the first step, but you need to know how to highlight them in writing and convince the reader and make them understand what you have achieved.
All in all, it was a very rewarding experience and I am grateful I had the opportunity to do it. Despite all the challenges, I really enjoyed being in the lab and working on my project and would be happy to go back any time and help out. I think it opened a new perspective to patient care as well, and now as I am back on my medical degree and clinical practice, I see what an impact research can make and the improvements we could make to patient experience.
I would definitely recommend TERM to anybody who is interested in research but maybe doesn’t know yet what area they would like to go into. Every year there is a great variety of projects you can get involved in, and the whole experience, with its ups and downs, is worth it. You will get to know some of the leading experts in the field, work with amazing teams and contribute to exciting research projects that could really make a difference in the future.