A young scientist from the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) has made a major breakthrough in the fight against cancer while on work placement.
Naomi Conlon, 17, made the discovery with scientists undertaking genetic research at MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, part of Imperial College London.
The research used experiments with E. coli to reveal some of the information that regulates genes can also damage DNA, which may explain why this information is lost in cancer cells.
Scientists believe this will give them a much better understanding of what happens in the early stages of the disease.
Naomi, who is studying for an Applied Science Extended Diploma Level 3, is expected to be named as a co-author in a leading scientific journal, in light of the findings.
She said: “I never expected anything like this. I thought I would be just watching the experiments, but I have been involved in everything we did. It feels great to have contributed to a scientific breakthrough that could help fight cancer in the future.
“I’ve been using different pieces of equipment, taking part in experiments and presenting my findings at lab meetings. It’s been an amazing experience.”
Naomi is completing the placement as part of a pilot of new T level study programmes, which will incorporate a significant work placement element.
She said: “I really enjoy science because there are so many questions that need answering, and it can also be very exciting and rewarding when you discover something new.
“The course at CONEL is really varied with experiments, presentations and assessments in biology, physics and chemistry, which help you to understand in more depth.
“The teachers have been great and there is a really friendly atmosphere here.”
Naomi hopes to study a degree in sports science at university when she finishes her diploma at CONEL and has aspirations to become a physio or sports psychologist.
MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences undertakes a wide range of research into genetics to advance understanding of biology and its application to medicine.
Dr Peter Sarkies, from MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, said: “I have been very impressed with Naomi.
“She is a dedicated and conscientious student who has proved herself to be a real asset to my research team and a great ambassador for the T level programme as a whole.”
CONEL offers Applied Science diploma courses from Levels 1-3 as well as an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Science.
- Last Updated: 03 May 2018