Charlie Barker, PhD student in the Petsalaki Group

Charlie Barker - PhD student in the Petsalaki Group

Q&A with Charlie Barker

"Having looked at the research that was going on here, that was something I wanted to be part of."

Charlie Barker is a PhD student in the Petsalaki Group. He shares why he chose to study at EMBL-EBI.

Q: Why did you choose to do your PhD at EMBL-EBI?

At my undergraduate university there were a couple of really nice people I knew who applied to EMBL. I was more interested in Bioinformatics so I applied to EMBL’s European Bioinformatics Institute. Working in Biochemistry, it’s an organisation you are very aware of, especially all the freely available databases and resources. As a student, and then later as a researcher, having all these free resources and databases is not only very useful, but very cool!

That was the first thing that made me choose EMBL-EBI but after that, having looked at the research that was going on here, I decided it was something I wanted to be part of. My project is working towards whole cell modelling, basically creating an in silico version of the human cell so that we can do all of our tests on a simulation programme as opposed to a real organism. This has obvious ethical advantages, as well as being more convenient. There are also things you can’t measure in a real organism that you are able to directly gauge on a simulation.

Q: What advice would you give someone who wants to apply for a PhD at EMBL-EBI?

The interview process is three full-days, which is intense but fun. So my advice is to just be yourself and relax as much as possible! You also meet a lot of cool people during that process, so I highly recommend making the most of it.      

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