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Nikita Telkar

BSc in Biomedical Genetics, graduated June 2017, Upper Second Class Honours Degree.

PhD student, University of British Columbia

The foremost reason I chose Newcastle University was due to the structure of the BSc Biomedical Genetics program. In the first half of my degree, I strengthened all my basics in biomedical sciences as part of the mandatory modules. The latter part of my degree allowed me to specialise and focus on genetics. The facilities and infrastructure are state of the art, and the faculty for my course specifically were especially supportive. Every module was designed to give a better and in-depth look into the various disciplines of genetics. The Newcastle Institute of Genetic Medicine was another chief reason for my choice - cutting-edge research in genetics is a focal point at the university.


The highlight of my 3 years there was being awarded the Genetics Society Summer Studentship grant to conduct my independent summer research project. Working at the IGM, I analysed human embryonic tissue to determine the presence of a protein extremely essential in proper foetal development. The report for my project was published in the Society's newsletter, and my poster of the same won two university-wide awards. The exposure to various other likeminded students and their contribution to the advancement of science through my entire project duration was incredible.

On the extra-curricular side, I immersed myself fully too, having worked out the secret to work-life balance. The Newcastle Students’ Union is one of the best in the country, and there’s always something to do. The city in itself is a student city, extremely accessible by foot everywhere. The sights are beautiful, and the people are pleasant. A perfect blend of the old and the new, Newcastle quickly became home for me. I could not have asked for a better place to spend my young adult years in - Newcastle availed me of not only exponential academic growth, but personal growth as well, and I loved every moment of it.

Furthermore, my undergrad years prepared me thoroughly for life after Newcastle. I undertook my Master's degree at University College London; along with a rigorous course load, my Master's project in Statistical Genetics investigated the genetic effects of lipid variants in populations of differing ancestries. Currently, I am a fully-funded PhD student in the Medical Genetics Graduate Program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. My PhD project will involve analysing small non-coding RNAs in placental tissue - for which I will be based at the British Columbia Children's Hospital Research Institute (BCCHRI) and the British Columbia Cancer Agency Research Centre (BCCRC). My ultimate aim is to further my knowledge and research skills to better understand and elucidate ancestry-specific genetic variation.