Last summer, I took part in the Sentinus Research Academy, which is an initiative that gives opportunities for Year 13 and 14 pupils to experience real research and development projects hosted by local companies and organisations. I chose Biochemistry as the subject area for my placement and my project host was Queens University.
Over four weeks, I worked as part of a small group of students on a project about risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. We were given sets of data to analyse and we took part in weekly online tutorials with the project supervisor. The tutorials focused on helping us develop skills in areas like data analysis and report writing, which was helpful when it came to writing the final report and creating a scientific poster at the end of the four weeks. My report was concerned with cholesterol, HbA1c (a type of blood sugar) and smoking. Having analysed the data, I presented my findings in the form of graphs and tables, and from this, I drew conclusions about each factor and compared my conclusions to those of previous published research.
I submitted my completed report to Sentinus Young Innovators to be judged, which involved presenting my project at the Whitla Hall at Queen’s University and doing three 12-minute interviews conducted by teams of Sentinus ambassadors. After the projects had been scored and ranked, I was very pleased to be awarded first place in my category, NI Senior Young Scientist.”