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Graduating from Ulster University with a PhD in molecular genetics, Zoe Angel combined her research skills with her interests in cancer biology to excel in her PhD.

Originally from Belfast, one of the reasons Zoe chose to study with Ulster was how highly Ulster ranks in the UK for biomedical sciences. Coupled with the appeal of her chosen PhD project (titled “Regulation of microRNA expression in prostate cancer by hypoxia”), Ulster was the perfect fit for Zoe.

“I chose Ulster University because I wanted to work with the supervisory team, and there are some excellent research groups working there. I really enjoyed my interview at Ulster and I thought the faculty members were very friendly and down to earth, which added to the great impression I had of the department. Coleraine is also a beautiful part of the world to live in, and I am very grateful for the opportunity I had to live there as well as to complete my PhD.”

One of the highlights of Zoe’s PhD experience was the Faculty funded GRO-UR-NETWORK scholarship, which enabled her to travel to Strasbourg in France. She spent three weeks learning and working with Dr Jocelyn Céraline at the IGBMC institute at the University of Strasbourg.

“During my second year, my supervisor Dr Declan McKenna saw the grant advertised and encouraged me to apply, because we were both keen for me to develop some specific skills in bioinformatics and it was a great opportunity for an internship in a group with different expertise. I successfully applied for the scholarship and spent 3 weeks working in the Céraline lab learning new skills and techniques.

I was later able to incorporate these new skills into my PhD thesis and my current postdoc work. The Céraline group were really friendly and welcoming, and extremely generous both in the lab and in their free time, they showed me around the outstandingly beautiful city of Strasbourg and took me to some wonderful restaurants. Overall, it was very beneficial to my career and I had a fantastic time.”

Zoe is currently working as a Research Fellow in the Paul Mullan group at the Patrick G Johnson Centre for Cancer Research at Queen’s University Belfast, where she is loving her work as much as she enjoyed her PhD research.