I have always had a keen interest in the study of the immune system and how it can be manipulated to improve clinical outcomes in patients. After completing my bachelor degree in Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, a fascination with immunology led me to consider the different study options available. King’s College London was highly recommended by several lecturers at my old university, in particular the M.Sc. in Immunology.
The course is organised to accommodate a limited number of students, creating the perfect environment to build close relationships not only between students, but also with lecturers, whom I found to be approachable and extremely helpful, always doing their best to accommodate our requests for clarification and further assistance. The modules are arranged to cover the basics of immunology, however, I appreciated how the lectures were up to date with the latest publications and thoroughly covering the subjects. Whilst preparing for the exams, I found the extensive recommended reading list given after each lecture to be most useful.
One aspect I appreciated the most was the in-course evaluation system. Throughout the year every student was required to do a short essay, a poster, a journal club and prepare a small lecture-like presentation on an advanced topic.
Having briefly worked in a lab before I started the M.Sc. at King’s, I found it most helpful developing the necessary skills for communicating science, which could be applied in a variety of circumstances, ie: presentation of a poster at a conference, a paper at an internal journal club or even showing data in front of peers or experts in the field. The data interpretation tutorials were also another invaluable learning tool that sometimes is taken for granted; apart from being practical exercises before the exams, they taught us how to read, understand and present critically the data published in a scientific paper.
The course included a week at the British Society for Immunology (BSI) congress in Liverpool. It was the first national congress I have attended and I was glad that it was part of the M.Sc. program, as it gave me a glimpse of what the scientific community does to keep up to date with the latest data and most importantly how to create connections and collaborations for future projects. In addition, many of our lecturers were invited to chair the meetings and give talks about their work, highlighting the way in which Immunology research at King’s is leading within its field.
After finishing my M.Sc., due to the invaluable contact opportunities offered by the program, I managed to find a position as a Research Assistant in the Immunoregulation Lab at King’s, during which time I successfully applied for a PhD studentship at King’s Health School. Having completed the M.Sc. in Immunology, combined with my previous qualifications, was instrumental in the success of my application.