This personal statement helped her gain admissions to pursue Natural Sciences in University of Cambridge and Biology in Imperial College London.
Infectious particles in blatant violation of the central dogma, propagating via a putative seeding-nucleation mechanism, in infectivity virus-like, yet in resistivity markedly dissimilar, prion proteins are fibrillary tangles of a confounding nature, arcane and unorthodox. Following a brief introduction to PrP through the “History of BSE in Britain”, my interest began to expand to include amyloid fibrils and its related pathological conditions.
The independent maturation of two different developmental pathways in metamorphosing marine creatures – whereupon pentaradial adults are formed from bipinnaria larvae – is astonishing, especially when both adopt radically different niches, as if they were of different species. I am particularly piqued by the life cycle of Luidia Sarsi, whose larvae lives on, unscathed, for a remarkable time period following the emergence of the juvenile starfish from the larvae.
Regular attendance of Royal Society lectures helped consolidate my interest in Science, “Understanding Epigenetics through Mathematics” by Terry Speed introduced me to the world in which events that occurred early in development may trigger a cascade of events that affects not only an individual, but also its offspring through such mechanisms as genomic imprinting, DNA methylation and histone deacetylation. A visit to Life Technologies, meanwhile, provided an insight to the manufacture of blood products such as the bovine serum and also of the preventive measures taken to avoid contamination. I learnt about the production of drugs, of the painstaking process of running through millions of promising molecules in the hope of producing a viable, effective drug through a visit to Douglas Pharmaceuticals and a talk by Margaret Bramble. At the Liggins Institute, meanwhile, I was given a chance to conduct the polymerase chain reaction.
My interest in Science is evident through the subjects I took for my A levels, notably, Biology, Physics and Mathematics, which are vital for the development of observational, analytical and deductive skills in order to perceive the “obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes”, as noted by the world famous sleuth. I am currently undertaking A level Chemistry to bridge the gaps in my knowledge. Having been privileged to attend one of the UN Youth NZ events besides being an active member of the West Auckland Youth Council, I was able to experience and be a part of the inspiring achievements of those young in body, but not in soul, of those who believed that change upon the world began with change upon oneself, that passion, determination and failures are key to achieving one’s dreams.
Being the President of the School Band and Vice-president of the Literary, Drama and Debating society, I was endowed with the honour of leading a team of individuals, of the banding of these, different as the instruments of an orchestra, yet each possessing its own vital and irreplaceable roles, coalescing to result in a harmonious symphony. Listening to lectures along with the perusal of books has helped elucidate a number of inexplicable phenomena including that pertaining to apoptosis and the archaeal domain. Volunteering in the zoo allowed direct observation of the behavior and habits of animals as real, living beings, as “endless forms most beautiful” – according to the great Darwin himself – as opposed to being mere theoretical concepts.
Being a part-time tutor of Physics, meanwhile, helped solidify my groundings in Science, for “nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person”, – again, by Sherlock Holmes. I’ve also been playing the trumpet for 5 years in several musical groups, which helped hone patience, concentration and dedication which I believe is of crucial importance in conducting scientific research.
A degree in Biology may provide just the “mental exaltation” for which I crave, for “my mind rebels at stagnation”.
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