Rachel Edgar - PhD student in the Zerbino Group

Rachel Edgar - PhD student in the Zerbino Group

A first year PhD student shares her advice on applying for EMBL's international PhD programme.

Q&A with Rachel Edgar

“It’s a huge international experience, with lots of eye-opening perspectives and ideas.”

Rachel Edgar is a first year PhD student in the Zerbino Group. She shares why she chose to study at EMBL-EBI.

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

I came to the Wellcome Genome Campus for a conference and it was just an amazing environment, from there it was getting to know and use Ensembl which made me aware of EMBL. Because I’m not European it took a little bit more digging to get to know what EMBL-EBI was, but when I looked into it more it got really appealing due to the international aspects of the organisation. Here you get Group Leaders from all over the world and students from all over the world, it’s just a huge international experience which is very eye-opening in terms of all the different perspectives and ideas.

Broadly, my group focuses on gene regulation and how to predict what regulatory regions are doing, why they are doing it, and in which context. Specifically, I am going to be working on inflammatory bowel disease with gene regulatory information, so DNA methylation, gene expression and genetic variation. I will be digging into that in terms of mechanisms and markers.

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

In general my advice would be to know what you want to do. Have a really clear idea about the research you want to do. The programme is fantastic and really appealing, but know that you want to be here for the science that you want to do, not just for the environment and the atmosphere. The interview will go way smoother if you have an idea of what you know already, what you want to learn and what you want to do with your time and your PhD. The four years can probably feel pretty long if you end up on a project that you’re not actually invested in! Think carefully about what you want to do and why.

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