Third year

Earlier this year, I have started a third year of medical school at University of Bristol.

Instead of going straight to clinical training, however, I have opted for a year-long “intermission” to complete a bachelor degree in Physiological Science with a focus on cardiovascular science. The advantage to this so called intercalated degree is that it allows us to understand a few selected topics in a great depth, equipping us with skills that are difficult to obtain in medical school.  

While many would expect a science degree to be less difficult than medicine, I must say I was taken aback by the complexity of information we were required to comprehend in a relatively short amount of time. The first module of the year was advanced statistics in medical sciences with the aim to provide us with enough knowledge to be able to comfortably understand and carry out any statistical tests essential for data analysis. My favourite module so far has been “heart in health and disease“, as it was very relevant to my dissertation and I found the lectures the most thought-provoking

As I described in my previous articles, last year I was shortly visiting the laboratory of cardiac electrophysiology to develop my understanding of what working in this lab entailed. I have also joined it this year and am currently working on a research project to understand the mechanism of heart failure on a subcellular level. What this essentially means is that I label rabbit heart cells with specific antibodies linked to fluorescent molecules and then obtain very high resolution images by a state of the art confocal microscope. I can then use these images to render 3D models of the subcellular structures that I am interested in and quantify their structure and organization in control (healthy) and diseased cells.

While this project has a great potential (on an undergraduate scale), obtaining reliable results is highly dependent on many factors, such as the quality of antibodies. Therefore, I will see over the next few weeks how my project is coming along and I will talk about the results some more in my future article.


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