Report on Alumni Working Together Scheme


Harry Madden has worked with Professor Kaufman on our Alumni Working Together Scheme. Here's what he had to say about it:

As part of MPW’s “Alumni Working Together” scheme, I was given the opportunity to work with Professor Jim Kaufman at the Department of Pathology at Cambridge University’s Downing Site. Professor Kaufman and his team are studying the co-evolution between genes of the chicken Major Histocompatibility Complex (hereon in referred to as the MHC or MHC). His team are also studying the effect of single dominantly-expressed Class I and class II molecules on the cells and receptors which recognise them, and the sequence of polymorphism, peptide-binding and expression level on disease resistance, vaccine response and other phenomena at an individual and population-wide level. Professor Kaufman and his team are in constant communication with scientists all across the world, from Harvard to Copenhagen.

For an aspiring Biomedical Sciences student, this was an incredible opportunity, and one that I could not afford to pass up. After a short chain of emails between myself and Professor Kaufman he invited me to attend one of his weekly lab meetings. At this meeting I met his team and watched a presentation given by one of Professor Kaufman’s Lebanese counterparts, Samer Halabi. This incredibly detailed talk threw me into a frenzy of asking questions, the most common of these being “why?” Despite my inevitably irritating curiosity Professor Kaufman invited me to the Department of Pathology on a weekly basis to work with one of his PhD students, Daniel Wise.

This was the first time I would be putting on a lab coat outside of A level Chemistry lessons and I eagerly awaited the following Monday. I was immediately thrown into the deep end of Daniel’s research, helping him to make gels to size separate a Polymerase Chain Reaction, and learning about the importance of electrophoresis in this process. Working with Daniel and helping him to prepare live tissue cultures helped me to understand the level of precision that is really required of a student when working in a laboratory. I will continue to work with Daniel and Professor Kaufman over the coming weeks and months.

Overall, I am extremely thankful for the opportunity given to me by the “Alumni Working Together” scheme. It has helped me to appreciate the level of work done in a real laboratory environment and has strengthened my desire to study Biomedical Sciences at degree level.