Pre-doctoral research bursaries are awarded biannually by Cancer Research UK to "provide short-term funding to allow clinicians and other health professionals to get involved in research projects early in their career". This scheme was ideal for Robert Watson, a junior doctor with an interest in academic research. He is currently taking a year out from his clinical training to conduct research in the laboratory of Benjamin Fairfax at the MRC WIMM, and is interested in applying for a PhD at a later date. "This CRUK grant will support my research this year" explains Rob "It will give me a chance to experience research and develop my skills, and hopefully gather preliminary data that will help me apply for a PhD".
The laboratory of Dr Benjamin Fairfax is examining the genetic changes that accompany the treatment of cancer with immunotherapies. During his time in the lab, Robert will be using sequencing techniques to investigate changes to the T cell repertoire during checkpoint inhibitor treatments. "I am very keen to work in the area of immunoncology and to further develop my skills in genetic medicine and computational biology, so this projects fits well with the lab's strategy and my own personal aims", says Robert. The successful bid will provide £25,000 towards the project's research expenses.