Maddy Burke: Training Truly Interdisciplinary Scientists

Madeline Burke joined the 2013 BCFN cohort with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bristol. Thanks to the extensive training in chemistry, biology and physics offered as part of the taught component of the BCFN first year programme, and support from both from her assigned academic mentor and from the suite of 14 online training modules she was able to choose a PhD project which encompassed a wide range of interdisciplinary topics, including scaffold design for tissue engineering, the culture of disease models for kidney fibrosis, and 3D bioprinting of cells. Beyond the lab, Madeline has also developed her wider skills, particularly in engagement and communication. She has been a key part of the NanoX outreach project, in which BCFN students go into local schools and deliver lessons on nanomaterials based around their own research experience. They then mentor year 10 pupils to undertake their own research into how nanomaterials can help solve global challenges. She also undertook an internship at the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, spending three months in Westminster explaining science to Members of Parliament. Madeline successfully graduated in 2017, and is now working as a Science Policy advisor in Westminster. 

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