What is it like to be a Lister Summer Student? Five 2023 students reflect

The Lister Summer Students poster session is a highlight of every year’s Annual Meeting, and September 2023’s event was no exception. Drinks and canapes were served as the students presented a wide range of research posters to interested guests.

Each undergraduate Summer Student is funded through a season of hands-on lab experience with one of the current or former Lister Fellows. The studentships provide valuable support to the Fellows’ research and give students a chance to pursue a project of interest and gain a real-world insight into life as a scientist.

We spoke with some of the 2023 students to find out how they’ve benefited from their experience and what they’ve learned so far.Molly McAinsh spent the summer working with former Lister Fellow Professor Anne Straube at the Centre for Mechanochemical Cell Biology, University of Warwick.

Molly’s poster covered The role of Kif1C in micrcotubule organisation.

“The summer studentship has given me a better idea of how science careers work. I learned that the challenges you face can be more about how you react and solve problems than the results you get. I’m currently deciding on whether to pursue medicine or a PhD, and hearing the talk from Professor Dame Pam Shaw on motor neurone disease really inspired me. Translational medicine really excites me and this talk confirmed that for me and how important helping people directly is essential for me to feel fulfilled in a job.”
– Molly McAinsh

Nicholas Martinez-Wise worked at Kings College London with Lister Institute Member Dr Cynthia Andoniadou.

Nicholas’ poster was titled Discovering the ligands and receptors underpinning cell state decisions of endocrine cells in the anterior pituitary gland.

“I thought the summer studentship was an amazing experience. It helped me realise that this something that I enjoy and that I want to pursue when I’m older, and that it’s different from uni and school. I feel I’ve actually taken part in what scientists do and what research is about. I’ve learned so much by doing and I think that’s the most effective way you can learn anything. I really enjoyed it.”
– Nicholas Martinez-Wise

Anmoyul Mohon worked with former Lister Fellow Professor Serge Mostowy at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

His poster was titled Exploring the role of antimicrobial resistance in the evolution of Shigella sonnei.

“My summer internship working on the Shigella infection has been a great experience, using different techniques and working in different environments – especially because it’s my first time at a different uni. I’m now looking forward to applying to schools in a different field and maybe, hopefully, down the line I can carry on the legacy of my mentors.”
– Anmoyul Mohon

Yong Hwa Hong presented a poster on his summer with Lister Institute Member Dr Fiona Wardle at Kings College London.

His poster was titled: Endoderm: characterising Sox32 cis-regulatory elements (CRE).

“I really wanted to have a wet lab experience, because I felt it would give me a more holistic view of medical thinkers. Rather than just focusing on a systemic view, I wanted to understand what everyone else is doing at a molecular level because in essence I think this will make me a better doctor. My goal is to be the best doctor I can possibly be for my future patients.”
– Yong Hwa Hong

Mara Muntean spent the summer working at the University of Cambridge with Lister Institute Member Dr Thóra Káradóttir.

Her poster was on: Intermittent myelin patterns in the corpus callosum.

“I had the amazing opportunity to spend the summer in Cambridge, which of course I accepted. It’s definitely going to have an impact on my future career because where I’m from in Eastern Europe we don’t have the devices necessary to do these amazing things. This has opened up my mind.”
– Mara Muntean

Interested in becoming a Lister Institute Summer Student?

Learn more about our programme and how to apply for our summer studentships

Photography by Stephen O’Gorman